Going back a few weeks, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations told us that he and his General Manager Jed Hoyer were looking to add two pitchers to his rotation. Now, they have their opportunity to do so with a number of pitchers hitting the market which might peek the Cubs interests.
Of course you have Max Scherzer, James Shields and the pitcher most people believe will wind up on the Cubs this off season Jon Lester. The Cubs, however, said they would ideally land two pitchers this seasons; the chances of landing two of these three is very slim and very unlikely. So the Cubs will have to enter into the next level to find another pitcher. One of them which I predicted the Cubs to sign would be Justin Masterson.
A lot of people will look at what Masterson did last year and be scared away. Between the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals Masterson went 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA. He was having a down year with the Indians, and things only got worse for him as he was traded to the Cardinals.
The beautiful thing about Masteron, why I think he would be a good fit, and why Theo and Jed might be interested in him is simple to understand.
First, Theo and Jed know Masterson well from their days together in Boston. In the year and a half to start his career in Boston, Masterson pitched fairly well. The last time he was under their watch, Masterson went 9-8 with a 3.76 ERA, in the American League no less. They know how good he can be and why he could be a good fit in the middle of their rotation. He even pitched fairly well in Cleveland for a team that did not win a lot of games. A record of 48-61 with an ERA of 4.23 is not bad at all, especially not in the American League.
There is no doubting that Masterson had a bad year in 2014, but his history tells us that he is a much better pitcher than he showed the world last season. A 4.03 ERA with a 1.356 WHIP in the American League is pretty good. He also comes with a two to one strike out to walk ratio.
For him, his poor seaon (worst of his career) came at a really bad time for him. Hitting free agency for the first time, coming off of a year like that will likely cost him a little bit off of the top, though any General Manager worth his job will know not to base an entire decision off of one year. He has had a lot of success through out his career, and I have no reason to believe that he will not continue to have success as his career goes on. He was never going to get anything close to what Scherzer, Price or Lester were going to get, but he should still be getting a decent sized contract with some length. Perhaps a two or three year deal worth somewhere between $24-45 Million, he would be a good add.
Masterson is a perfect rebound candidate, and if he returns to his career norms, he would be an excellent pitcher slotting between Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks. Will the Cubs sign Masterson? There is a chance, after all, there is that Boston connection.