The Pirates and right-hander Justin Masterson have agreed to a minor league contract, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (on Twitter). The Rowley Sports Management client underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder last September and didn’t sign in the offseason while rehabbing from the injury.
Masterson, who turned 31 last month, tallied just 59 1/3 innings in his return to the Red Sox last season after signing a one-year deal over the winter. That marked Masterson’s second consecutive injury-plagued season resulting in an ERA north of 5.50. Over the past two seasons, Masterson has logged a 5.79 ERA in 188 innings while dealing with knee problems and the aforementioned shoulder troubles.
Prior to those injuries, though, Masterson was an excellent and rather underrated contributor to the Indians’ rotation. From 2011-13, Masterson logged a 3.86 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 and averaged 205 innings per season. Two of those years were particularly excellent, with Masterson turning in a sub-3.50 ERA each season. The hard-throwing side-armer is known for a power sinker which, when at its best, can both induce grounders and lead to quite a few missed bats. Masterson boasts a career ground-ball rate of 56.3 percent, and his ability to keep the ball on the ground undoubtedly held some appeal to the Bucs, who have had a good deal of success in recent years in revitalizing ground-ball pitchers whose stock is at a low point. It’s not clear at this time when Masterson will be ready to get into a big league game, but he’ll give the Buccos some insurance behind Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese, Jeff Locke and Juan Nicasio. Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, currently in the bullpen, also represents a rotation option for manager Clint Hurdle.
Not a terrible signing, but should just be used as a relief pitcher if he makes it to the Majors. His last decent season as a starter was in 2013, and even with that he’s only had maybe 2 decent starting seasons in his career.
Alright Searage go work your magic.
It’s amazing that when Pirates pitchers turn around n that stadium, the pitching coach gets massive credit for turning around their career. But when Rockies hitters turn around in their stadium, then everyone thinks that it is only because of Coors. Not trying to whine, just enjoying yet another double standard in life.
PS – I do think Searage is a very good pitching coach as well.
Yeah, I remember the amazing post-Coors careers of Brad Hawpe and Garret Atkins and Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla and…welll…I could keep going, right?
That’s becuase PNC park is middle ground for being a pitchers park or hitters park. Coors is the best hitters park in the MLB.
I guess I just don’t consider the 5th best pitcher’s park as “middle ground,” but that’s just me.
the stats and rankings can be misleading. Clearly there are hitters parks like Colorado with more fair territory than any other MLB park that i know about along with the altitude..
But as far as PNC goes.. having a huge Right field fence a team full of ground ball pitchers and a pretty good team of pitching coaches helps keep PNC near the top of the pitcher friendly parks. With a different staff PNC park would be more middle of the pack though still lean to the pitchers.
Also having three of the better outfielders in baseball in your starting lineup helps too 😉
searage needs to channel his Henry Rowengartner on this one.
Hah! Don’t think Searage can magically create the 5 ticks Masterson lost off of his FB the last 2 seasons ago and on top of that? he was more effective vs RH hitters when he had the velocity due to his nearly submarine windup.
Getting back healthy and fixing his mechanics didn’t bring back the velocity, only chance I see of usefulness is same side situational righty that now throws upper 80’s.. How much use will that be? Minors are full of those types.
Velo tends to tick up in the bullpen. There are actually a handful of decent right-handed starters with poor velo. Mike Fiers comes instantly to mind, as does Collin McHugh and Doug Fister. Tanner Roark.
i guess you missed the henry rowengartner part of the statement. google him!
Wish he would have had an entire camp and spring training with Searage…obviously this spells potential disaster if he is in the Bucs rotation come July…that would mean that ALOT of things have gone TERRIBLY WRONG…
This is a move that good teams make. You sign a guy with a good past that had injury troubles to a minor league deal. If he pans out great. If he still has issues and you can not fix or he is not willing to try to fix, nothing lost. The Pirates have seen that sometimes you throw something against the wall and sometimes it sticks. In the past, they had to use a major league contract to get one of these guys. Now they can do what other good teams do. Offer a minor league deal and if the player takes it great. If not, move on to the next guy.
You’re spot on, I’m just suggesting that this type of move, especially with a guy like Masterson that needs extra work and attention, should have been done 2 months ago to give Searage an entire spring to get him into a new routine and or mechanics. At this point of the season, Ray obviously can’t be going down to Indy to work with a minor league reclamation project. Ofc I hope he ends up helping us this year, but without being here since pitchers and catchers reported for camp, that seems like a very bleak possibility. Know what I mean, gozurman1?