Justin Masterson was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Sunday. Fans were elated that he would finally be out of their organization after a poor year (to say the least).
For those not familiar with the Red Sox, here's how Masterson's season went with Boston.
This past December, Masterson inked a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the team, as they hoped that he could return to old form and anchor a rotation with no top notch starter.
The 30-year-old Masterson started the Sox' third game of the season, pitching to a 6-2 win, going six innings, allowing just two runs while striking out seven. His game score of 63 would be the highest of the season and the highest since he was with the Cardinals on August 13, 2014.
That start was, in a sense, Masterson's peak. He made eight more starts, allowing 28 earned runs in 38 innings pitched (6.63 ERA). Opponents hit for a .913 OPS in that stretch, one that spanned from April 14 to July 3.
He missed 39 games due to shoulder tendonitis in May and was brought back to the team in June. He made two below average starts (both of which were included in that time span above) and then was moved to the bullpen.
The Red Sox thought that they had, at the least, a serviceable starter when they spent $9.5 million on Masterson. Instead, they got a long reliever.
Coming into tonight, Masterson had pitched fairly well out of the bullpen, coming into eight games, allowing six runs over 14 1/3 innings (3.77 ERA), with a pretty good 16 to 5 strikeout-to-walk rate. Despite solid numbers on the surface, opponents still hit for an .899 OPS against him. Basically, Masterson still wasn't good.
Tonight, he pitched an inning, gave up a home run, and leaves the ballpark no longer a member of the Red Sox.
Masterson has seen a huge velocity drop-off from his career averages, being about 4 mph slower on all of his pitches. Once a guy who could dial it up to 98 when needed, Masterson struggled to hit 90, topping out at 92 on his sinker.
He just doesn't have it anymore. Some team, however, will give him a second chance. Whether that will be on a minor league deal (it likely will be), Masterson will likely have one more opportunity to try and be the same guy that was a 2013 All-Star.
But for now, he's a failed experiment by a team that has failed to meet expectations coming into the season.