Jul 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcherJustin Masterson
(63) pitches during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
#3 – Justin Masterson
The 30-year-old veteran signed a one-year contract for $9.5 million. That is the number that Cherington believed was worth signing him in order to replace the veterans he traded the year before.
In return, Masterson’s numbers are the following: a 3-2 record, a 5.98 ERA, an injury that kept him out of the lineup for the majority of the season, and a 7.71 ERA when he returned and placed in the bullpen instead of as a starter.
The former 2013 All-Star has been a shell of his former self. That year, he led the A.L. with three shutouts. He struck out 195 batters in 193 innings. Since then, Masterson has fallen on hard times, moving from the Cleveland Indians to the Cardinals and then to Boston in the span of a year.
One major reason is that Masterson’s pitches are slowing down. His four-seam fastball is moving at only 87 mph, according to FanGraphs.com. He has thrown a sinker and a slider as well, moving at about 78 mph with barely any movement. Those pitches are like giant beach balls for opposing hitters when they don’t move the way Masterson wants them to move, which explains why batters have a .290 batting average against him.
Cherington tried to replace Lackey and other veterans with rental veterans to see if they would regain their form. So far, the plan has had a hard time working when veterans like Masterson can’t play well enough to even be in the starting rotation.