As the reporters and baseball men in Orlando start to trickle into the bar, and the news starts to trickle out more lightly– at least for another few hours, most likely (unless I’m totally just making it up that everybody’s getting shithammered and will rush back with breathless half-baked innuendo later in the night)– there are a few interesting notes or thoughts to pass along on a trio of pitchers who are available this winter– one of them, surprisingly so.
The Clevelands were making big splashes on the free agent market last season– bargain hunting as they may have been, waiting out Nick Swisher until January, and Michael Bourn until February– and so while it seemed possible then that they may have dealt their best pitcher, Justin Masterson, with two years left before his free agency, they made the choice to make a run for the playoffs with him on staff instead, and did pretty damn well for themselves (thanks in no small part to the heisting of Yan Gomes from the Jays). Now, with only one year left before his contract expires, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, they might really be ready to move him this time:
Sources: #Indians listening on Masterson with idea of exploring longer-term options. Masterson entering final season before free agency.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2013
MLBTR projects Masterton to earn $9.7-million this year, which would certainly fit the Jays’ pay structure, and I project that his wicked ground ball rate and spike in strikeout rate in 2013 would make him a hell of an attractive commodity to the club– and, well, any club, really– but it’s hard to see an immediate, obvious fit here in terms of lining up on a trade. Or, well, anywhere, really.