Justin Masterson signs with the Red Sox
The two are reunited years after Boston traded the pitcher to the Indians.
The Red Sox are rebuilding their entire rotation at the winter meetings, and Justin Masterson is the latest addition. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the two sides agreed on a deal, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported it is believed to be for one year and $9 million. It reunites not just the Red Sox with Masterson, who they drafted back in 2006, but also Masterson with his former pitching coach, current Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Masterson struggled in 2014 while splitting time between the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals. As recently as 2013, though, he was a quality pitcher, and he averaged 199 innings per season from 2010 through 2013, peaking at 216. There are obvious risks here, such as Masterson once again struggling over a full season, but also obvious upside that Boston is happy to try for.
Getting back with Farrell could do the trick, and Masterson has had a bit of every other year success to him, anyway: in 2011 he posted a 122 ERA+, and in 2013 a 110. In between, 74 and 63. If Masterson doesn’t pitch well again, the Sox have options on hand to replace him. There are prospects like Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez, and maybe even Matt Barnes or Brian Johnson sitting at Triple-A Pawtucket, and Joe Kelly could very well be heading back into the swingman role he was so familiar with during his time with the Cardinals, now that Masterson is here. If Masterson tanks, Kelly should be there to replace him.
Boston’s rotation is not done quite yet, but they’ve now added Rick Porcello and Wade Miley through trades, as well as Masterson through a signing, If, as rumored, they are also looking to add James Shields, then this is an essentially an 80 percent overhaul from 2014′s mess.