Nick Masset Rumors

Braves Sign Nick Masset, Designate John Cornely

The Braves have signed reliever Nick Masset, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter links). To create 40-man roster space, the club designated fellow righty John Cornely for assignment.

Masset is a long-time big leaguer who established himself as a reliable arm over 2009-11 with the Reds. But injuries derailed his career, and he struggled last year upon returning with the Rockies. Masset was actually off to a fairly promising start with the Marlins this year when he was designated and then outrighted. While his average fastball velocity is down to below 92 mph, he had permitted just two earned runs over 9 2/3 innings while logging six strikeouts against just one walk.

Cornely, who just turned 26, was hit hard in his first and only big league inning. He has worked exclusively in the minors over his career, most recently throwing 17 1/3 Triple-A innings with a 4.15 ERA and 11.9 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. He was also quite productive last year at the Double-A level, where he notched a 2.49 earned run mark in 68 2/3 frames.

(Oddly, both Masset and Cornely celebrated their birthdays on Sunday.)


Minor Moves: Nick Masset, Astros, Omar Duran

Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Marlins announced that they’ve outrighted Nick Masset to Triple-A New Orleans. The 33-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment over the weekend in order to clear a spot on the roster for Henderson Alvarez‘s activation from the 15-day disabled list. Masset has actually delivered strong results in 9 2/3 innings for the Marlins — a 1.86 ERA with six strikeouts against one walk. However, he’s also seen his fastball velocity drop by more than a mile per hour this season, as it’s now averaging 91.5 mph. Still, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Masset eventually earn another crack at the Marlins’ big league roster, assuming he accepts the outright assignment.
  • The Astros have placed right-hander Sam Deduno on the 15-day DL and transferred Jed Lowrie to the 60-day DL in order to clear space for right-hander Lance McCullers, Jr. on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters, the club announced. McCullers’ contact has officially been selected from Triple-A, and he will start tonight’s game against the A’s. Houston selected McCullers with the 41st pick in the 2012 draft — 40 picks after they picked Carlos Correa with the No. 1 overall selection.
  • Left-hander Omar Duran signed a minor league deal to return to the Athletics organization, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Duran spent his entire career in Oakland’s minor league ranks prior to the 2015 season but signed with Detroit this past winter. After being released, Duran signed on and was assigned to Class-A Advanced Stockton, where he made his debut last night. The 25-year-old has a career 3.28 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 through 288 minor league innings, but he’s thrown just 22 2/3 innings at Double-A and has not advanced beyond that level.

Marlins Designate Nick Masset For Assignment

The Marlins have designated reliever Nick Masset for assignment, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The move was made to clear room for starter Henderson Alvarez on the 25-man roster.

Masset pitched 8.2 innings for Miami with a 2.08 ERA, 5.19 K/9, and 1.04 BB/9. The right-hander’s best seasons were with the Reds from 2009 through 2011. At his best, he featured a 95 mph fastball. These days, the 33-year-old works around 91 mph. He spent 2014 with the Rockies where he posted a 5.80 ERA in 45 innings.

Masset is joined in DFA Limbo by Kevin Gregg, Stolmy Pimentel, and Bruce Chen.



Marlins Designate Matt Tracy For Assignment

The Marlins have designated left-hander Matt Tracy for assignment, the team announced.  Miami has also selected the contract of right-hander Nick Masset from Triple-A while righty Jose Urena has been sent down to Triple-A in corresponding moves.

Tracy has now been DFA’ed by two different teams in a nine-day span.  The Yankees designated the southpaw last week and the Marlins claimed him on Saturday.  Tracy made his MLB debut this season, tossing two innings for the Yankees and allowing three unearned runs on two walks and two hits.  The 26-year-old lefty was a 24th-round draft pick for the Yankees in 2011

Miami signed Masset to a minor league deal during the offseason, released him prior to the Article XX(B) deadline and then re-signed the veteran righty to a new contract earlier this month.  Masset posted a 5.80 ERA over 45 relief innings with the Rockies last season, his first taste of MLB action since 2011 thanks to a variety of shoulder problems that threatened to end his career.  Over seven seasons and 378 innings with the Rockies, Reds, White Sox and Rangers, Masset has a 4.02 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 1.93 K/BB rate.

It’s already been a busy day for the MLBTR DFA Tracker, as the Cardinals’ Gary Brown and the Brewers’ Brandon Kintzler have also been designated today.  In addition to Brown, Kintzler and Tracy, Grant Balfour (Rays), Xavier Cedeno (Nationals), Kyle Drabek (White Sox) and Todd Redmond (Blue Jays) are also currently residing in “DFA limbo.”


Marlins To Re-Sign Nick Masset

The Marlins have re-signed righty Nick Masset, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports on Twitter. Miami will add Masset back on a new minor league deal after releasing him a week ago.

Masset, 32, returned to action last year after dealing with career-threatening shoulder issues. The results were not great — a 5.80 ERA in 45 innings — but he was working at Coors Field and was still not far removed from surgery. More promisingly, Masset posted solid groundball numbers and a 4.33 FIP.

This spring, Masset allowed nine earned runs with just three strikeouts against four walks in 11 total innings. It was not terribly surprising, then, that he failed to crack the Marlins pen and that the club released him before being forced to pay a $100K retention bonus. Masset will now have a chance round back into form at Triple-A while providing a useful depth option for the Fish.


Marlins Exploring Trade Market For Pitching

The Marlins are exploring possible trade options to bolster their pitching, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Miami is concerned about the rotation and, ideally, they’d like to add another starter. However, they could also use a bit more help in the bullpen and they wouldn’t be opposed to an upgrade there either.

Miami has seen some rocky performances from its starters this spring and the front office is starting to worry about the durability of the rotation.  No. 2 starter Mat Latos dealt with a left knee injury last season and had his elbow scoped in mid-October, so Miami is concerned about how he will hold up.  Meanwhile, Henderson Alvarez (left knee) and Jarred Cosart (blister) dealt with some less serious issues in March.

As for the bullpen, the Marlins’ depth took a hit this week when they learned that Aaron Crow will likely need season-ending Tommy John surgery.  Preston Claiborne will also be out for at least a month with a right shoulder injury.  Even if the bullpen is not as high of a priority for the Marlins at this time, it sounds like they’re very much open to adding some reinforcements there.

If the Marlins choose to stand pat, Frisaro notes that they have some viable in-house options.  Miami hopes that right-handed reliever Nick Masset, who was cut recently, agrees to join the club’s Triple-A affiliate, according to the MLB.com scribe.   For starting depth, the Marlins could turn to long relievers David Phelps and Brad Hand, though that would likely weaken the pen.


Marlins Release Nick Masset

The Marlins have released right-handed reliever Nick Masset, the club announced. Masset, 32, signed as a minor league free agent and enjoyed Article XX(B) protection.

Once a consistently productive presence in the Reds’ pen, Masset traveled a long road back to the big leagues after undergoing multiple shoulder surgeries. He ended a two-year layoff last year, throwing 45 innings of 5.80 ERA ball for the Rockies but posting a more promising 4.33 FIP. Masset was able to deliver typically strong groundball results while striking out 7.2 and walking 4.8 batters per nine.

Miami obviously had decided not to give Masset a spot on its big league roster and preferred not to pay him a $100K bonus to stay in the upper minors. Masset has scuffled somewhat this spring, striking out only three batters and allowing nine earned runs in 11 innings of work, but ought to hold appeal to organizations seeking depth.


Marlins, Nick Masset Agree To Minor League Deal

The Marlins have agreed to terms with right-hander Nick Masset on a minor league contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

Masset, a client of Jet Sports Management, struggled through 45 innings with the Rockies in 2014 — his first big league action after a two-year absence due to shoulder problems and throacic outlet syndrome. Masset’s 5.80 ERA may be a bit misleading. Metrics such as FIP (4.33) and SIERA (4.12) feel that he was the recipient of some poor fortune, and indeed, his .371 batting average on balls in play was the third-highest mark among pitchers with 40 innings thrown (per Fangraphs).

The 32-year-old Masset was formerly a solid setup man for the Reds, pitching to a 3.05 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in parts of four seasons (240 1/3 innings) with Cincinnati. However, after signing a two-year, $5.5MM extension with the Reds, he failed to throw another pitch for the organization.

Masset isn’t without his faults; his 7.2 K/9 rate and 4.8 BB/9 rate from 2014 were both a far cry from his peak with the Reds. Still, if he can regain some of his lost control and continue to post a strong ground-ball rate (51.7 percent in 2014, 50 percent for his career), he could be a nice buy-low option for the Marlins.


West Notes: Grossman, Keuchel, Masset

The Astros have recalled Robbie Grossman, who will serve as their everyday left fielder, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Astros also optioned fellow outfielder L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Oklahoma City. “We’ll get [Alex Presley] some at-bats here and there, but the regular three outfielders will be Grossman, [Dexter] Fowler and [George] Springer,” says manager Bo Porter. Grossman was disappointing in an earlier stint with the big club this season, but the 24-year-old then hit .299/.373/.453 in 153 plate appearances at Triple-A. Grossman was the key player the Astros received when they traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates. (They also received Rudy Owens, who recently made his big-league debut, and Colton Cain.) The news that Grossman will be promoted comes a few days after the Pirates designated Rodriguez for assignment. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel tops Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ list of players who have started the season hot. Yesterday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros would not trade Keuchel, who could be emerging as one of baseball’s better young starters. Keuchel, 26, pitched a four-hit complete game against the Mariners on Sunday and now has a 2.55 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 so far this season.
  • Reliever Nick Masset is with the Rockies after missing two years to injury, and Adrian Dater of the Denver Post chronicles Masset’s return to the big leagues. Masset signed a two-year, $5.5MM extension with the Reds prior to the 2012 season but never pitched for them after signing, instead falling victim to shoulder trouble and, ultimately, thoracic outlet syndrome. Masset wondered if his career might be over. The Rockies scouted him this winter as he made his comeback, and they signed him to a minor-league deal, finally promoting him May 5. He’s pitched well in 8 1/3 innings for them since then.

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
  • The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
  • As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
  • The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster. 
  • John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
  • The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
  • Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
  • Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.