Pittsburgh Pirates Should Focus On Justin Masterson During Free Agency


Aug 30, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Justin Masterson (63) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates used to be a team where pitchers lost their way when Jim Colburn was the pitching coach a few years back. However, since Ray Searage took over the helm, the Pirates now look like the place for pitchers who need to find themselves again. This means free agent Justin Masterson would be the perfect match for both parties during the offseason.

The biggest case for Searage has been the reclamation of Francisco Liriano. Liriano had come off Tommy John surgery earlier in his career and never looked the same. When the Bucs went after him, it was somewhat of a shot in the dark. Searage was able to work with him and turn Liriano (3.38 ERA in 2014) into a solid no. 2 starter who could pitch like a no. 1 sometimes during his stint in Pittsburgh. It is unlikely both Volquez and Liriano will be back next season and going after another project may be the best-case scenario. Masterson came into 2014 touted as a possible Cy Young candidate for the Cleveland Indians. Masterson never lived up to the hype, was demoted to the minors and eventually traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Things did not get much better in St. Louis, but it is easy to think Masterson’s confidence was completely shot at that point. Because of that, he is the perfect player to sign. He will have zero hype or expectations in Pittsburgh and if can come even close to his 2013 numbers (14-10, 3.45 ERA), he will fill in at the no. 4 slot and become one of the best bargains in all of baseball. No one knows what he will sign for exactly, but coming off his poor 2014, he should be relatively cheap.

The Pirates have a solid top of the rotation with Gerrit Cole definitely becoming a true ace. Vance Worley and Jeff Locke do not necessarily scare National League hitters, but are reliable. The addition of Masterson would make sense and bolster the rotation.