MLB Free Agency: Justin Masterson Holding Showcases This Week
Former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson held a showcase for eight teams in Phoenix earlier this week, and will again throw for interested teams this Friday.
After debuting to much fanfare with the Boston Red Sox in 2008, Justin Masterson has struggled to find consistency throughout his eight-year career. Last season, Masterson spent nearly the entire season with the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In an effort to regain some value after shoulder surgery and a rough 2015 campaign, Masterson spent most of the year as a reliever and managed to finish his season on a strong note. Masterson posted a 4.97 ERA with a 4.70 FIP in 54.1 innings, while finishing the season with eight scoreless appearances in his final 10 games.
Now, Masterson is looking to find a team willing to give him a shot in the majors, as either a starter or reliever, as reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
Justin Masterson held a showcase for eight clubs today in Phoenix. He'll throw again for interested teams on Friday.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 15, 2017
In his last major league appearance in 2015 with the Boston Red Sox, Masterson continued to show regression and watched his velocity drop below 90 mph. In 18 games with Boston, Masterson struggled with his command while issuing 27 walks to 49 strikeouts.
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His 2014 season was much of the same, as he slogged through his final few games with the Cleveland Indians before struggling to do much of anything with the St. Louis Cardinals. Before his shoulder ailments in 2014, however, Masterson was quietly one of the more effective mid-rotation starters in the league.
From 2009 to 2013, Masterson was one of the better ground ball pitchers in the American League – and though his ERA didn’t always reflect his value, he found ways to limit runners in many of his starts. Despite only topping 200 innings twice, Masterson could typically be relied on for at least 30 starts.
Masterson’s best season came in 2013, when he was named an AL All-Star while finishing the season with a 3.45 ERA, 9.09 K/9 and 58 percent ground ball rate.
At age 32 by the time the season starts, Masterson likely has plenty left to once again contribute to a major league club. As such, Masterson has drawn a decent amount of interest in his latest showcases.
#MNTwins did have an area scout watch FA pitcher Justin Masterson throw today in the Phoenix area.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) February 14, 2017
The Minnesota Twins are reported to be among the teams interested in Masterson, and it’s likely that mid-tier teams with available slots at the back-end of their rotations will be interested.
Masterson’s prospects at a contract seem to be growing, but it’s more than likely he’ll receive a minor league deal with a shot to make a big league club in spring training.