Pirates One of Five Teams in on Justin Masterson

The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of five teams reportedly in on Justin Masterson, according to Jon Heyman.

This is the second time we’ve heard about the Pirates being connected to Masterson, and I gave my thoughts on him as a reclamation project the last time around. He makes sense in that he is a heavy ground ball pitcher who has had a lot of success in the past, and the Pirates have done a good job getting pitchers like him back on track.

The Pirates definitely need at least one starter, and while they’ve been connected to Scott Kazmir today, it would make sense for them to continue the reclamation project approach that has worked so well for them. Of course, there’s nothing preventing them from adding two starters, and they’d need to do that if they dealt a starter for Mitch Moreland.

Trevor Cahill just signed today for a one year, $4.25 M deal with the Cubs. Masterson was expected to get less than Cahill, so he wouldn’t end up being that expensive of a starter. Finally, there’s the track record to consider, which brings us to this joke from Neal Huntington:

Basically what everyone ever has said about the guys who cash in on their time with Ray Searage and the Pirates.

  • Wasn’t Masterson a good bounce-back candidate in 2015?

    I’m not thrilled by a guy who’s 6’6″/260 and doesn’t throw 90 mph.

    • Possibly NH will find out your not thrilled and will then reconsider.

      • it would be a wise move on his part.

        • A bit unfair to act like not throwing 90 means Masterson is a terrible option.

          For all his lack of velo, he’s getting plenty of swings and misses. So while more velo is a good thing, the usual lack of velo=no out pitch apparently isnt a sure thing here.

          If he’s getting 7 K/9 as is, and Searage helps him cut the BB rate, we could do worse as a low buy back end SP depth. If he’s throwing back at 90 mph im in.

          • Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying there’s no way I’d touch him…

            If we’re talking about a $2-3M minor league contract that escalates to $5-6M if he makes the team and there’s a team option for $8-9M for a second season…yeah…

            But if there are five teams involved, there’s no way I’m getting into a bidding war for his services.

            • I agree w you. Problem w Bats is he just had scoping in September. If that means his FB can bounce back to 93 then you have a gr8 bounce back candidate. Big if.

              I would try to talk him into a minor league deal so he could build up innings at Indy but if he insists on an MLB deal the guaranty has to be small enough that we can cut him out of Spring Training.

    • He was regularly hitting 95 for years up until 2014. I think he’s got stuff they can work with. He may not pan out, but at the (expected) cost, what’s not to like?

      • Um, the fact that a shoulder injury *caused* that massive velocity drop?

        Pirates better get damn good medicals on these guys…

  • Sounds like the Pirates are interested in the Rangers relievers Diekman, Tolleson, Dyson. General question, people can respond if they like…I’d considering doing this deal.

    Morton and Diaz for Moreland and Tolleson.

    • If Im Texas, I turn that deal down.

      • Why? I dont actually think anyone believes he’s a 2 WAR value player, but thankfully for TEX when you put up 2 WAR you get to call him that until he throws out his typical career much lower the following year.

        You have Moreland as a 1-2 WAR type, Morton as generally 1-1.5 WAR. PGH throws in clearly more value with Diaz and gets a good-not-great reliever in return.

        Pretty even, particularly if TEX is valuing SP over Moreland due to easily being able to sign Napoli. For TEX, they make room for Napoli while addressing SP depth and having a real catcher prospect as opposed to their current ugly mess.

        • I’m a little higher on both Texas players than you seem to be.

          Tolleson converted 35/37 last season, doesn’t walk many, strikes out a ton, and is controllable for four more seasons, and his numbers were greatly diminished by playing in a hitter’s park. In PNC, I think he could genuinely bloom.

          Is Moreland a fluke? No idea, the Pirates were after him last season and he took off in 2015. Much the same way Cervelli did.

          Morton? I like Charlie, but he’s carrying a WHIP of >1.3 over the last four seasons…and those were his four best seasons. I’m of the opinion that park would kill him.

          Diaz…I really like…but he’s not enough to overcome all the other things I’ve mentioned.

          • Mitch Moreland has more than enough playing time as to why i suspect he’s not all that great. Okay stop gap for a desperate team, not near good enough to think you gotta give up Diaz.

            Id rather drop Diaz and any reliever and go Moreland for Morton 1-1. At least then i can hope they flip Melancon+a Garcia type to another team for a Morton replacement and an upside relief arm. I want more than 1 season of Moreland projected 100 wRC+ for a catcher who could start for me the following year.

            In terms of overall value, sure Diaz isnt a top 100 prospect. In terms of what the team plans to do, he’s more valuable to PGH than his prospect stock indicates. He’s a guy who gives you cheap production to throw money elsewhere, rather than throwing money at C.

            • I’d be fine with that…simplify the deal. Texas seems to be the ones pushing for Diaz, but if Texas were up for it, just do a deal straight up. Morton for Moreland. Thats an even trade.

              • By the way, I think Melancon’s trade value just went up a good bit more tonight with the Chapman news. If there’s any truth to the allegations, Chapman’s trade status is near dead for quite awhile.

            • I’m higher on Moreland. He had a nice 2013 and seemed to be ready to build on it until he was injured and missed most of 2014. In 2015 he was able to move from the lower part of the batting order to the middle and posted his best numbers.

              I’d say, not including injury, worst case with Moreland is an average hitting first baseman who fields above average…and all at an extremely reasonable cost…and that is something the team desperately needs.

              I agree with your plusses on Diaz…and, to be honest, would much rather see him start the season as the #2 catcher and take over when Cervelli leaves. But if I had a chance to trade him straight up for Tolleson…I’d do it if a Cervelli extension could be worked out. That would allow for Melancon to be traded without, I think, much drop off from his 2016 numbers. Yes, I meant 2016.

              • An average hitting first baseball, even with above average defense, is still no more than a 1 WAR player. For a guy already making $5m, there’s very little value there in a trade.

                Also, check out Moreland’s monthly splits if you think he turned some sustained corner in 2015.

      • And they would be braindead for turning that down.

    • They better do something or Piratefest is going to be nasty this weekend.

    • Kinda makes extending Cervelli a need, but i could deal with that from a value standpoint.

      Not sure it fits from an organizational standpoint though. Best case they turn around and flip Melancon for a SP to fill Morton’s role, and even then they’d be forcing themselves to yet again go catcher shopping (or re sign Cervelli) really soon.

    • Stupid.

  • Has the name of Mark Melancon even been mentioned? With Chapman and Kimbrell off the boards, I wonder if the action on MM will heat up over the next day or two. And, very little activity on position players.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 7, 2015 8:25 pm

    I’d pass on Masterson – and pursue Kazmir with all vigor. Masterson is Morton – don’t see any improvement there. Get Kazmir – then our #1 through #3 will be as good as anyone else in the division. We can then improve the backend with kids – some combination of Glasnow, Taillon, Kingham, etc.
    We will be relegated to third place until this team starts making some bold moves and decisions – start trusting their prospects and quit blocking them year after year. If Bell, Glasnow, and Hansen are as good as advertised, they should all be given legitimate shots at winning spots on the 25 man this Spring. If they perform well and earn those spots, they could be the difference between third place and first place. Guys like Masterson and Moreland are not going to be those difference makers.

    • Promote players on OD, Glasnow is better than Morton, dont sign cheap SPs because we gotta be aggressive or we lose.

      Is it like a situation where you gotta post it twice a day to stay healthy or just a nervous habit?

    • I do not understand what people have against Moreland.

      • In no way do i agree with the above post, but i think its always fair to be critical of a guy whose coming off a career year and its his really only productive year in the last 3.

        Seems far more likely to throw out a 100-110 wRC+ with good defense than another career year 115 wRC+. That’d still be an improvement for us, but if TEX is selling him as a 2 WAR player that a bad overpay.

        Good fit, but the price should dictate our level of interest. Not worth Diaz, and id argue he’s not worth Morton even off a bad year. It’d just be shifting areas of need rather than replacing one in a Morton/Locke for Moreland deal.

        • I just don’t see what the alternative is. Unless you want to go back to Ike Davis, go with Goebbert. Those sort of things.

          But cost is relevant. I just think if your a person who has faith in their system, you can trade a prospect of one position and still have something behind it. Mcguire behind Diaz for instance.

          • I agree that the alternatives arent better, and that he’d be an upgrade. But that says more about our situation than his ability.

            My problem with the “faith in the system” is that McGuire isnt close. Isnt near close. So while we have depth, what we dont have is depth close to being ready outside of Diaz. Meaning we’d need 3-4 years of some catcher rather than riding out the Cervelli years and having that replacement ready to get a shot.

            You gotta give to get, but from a roster standpoint it sure doesnt seem like a smart give to get. He’s a good but flawed player for a year, and we give 6 years of control over a guy we kinda need soon. Id sell Stewart hard and involved a better prospect with Stewart to avoid losing our only high quality catcher prospect above AA.

            • You can offset with a Cervelli deal.

              But I’m starting to wonder if he’s betting on himself like Martin.

              • Even thats a shitty trade from a roster formation standpoint. You’d pay far more for 3-4 years of Cervelli at ages where he less likely to be in his prime.

                Diaz might not be the second coming of Yadier Molina, but id rather give him the chance than basically have to extend Cervelli and give him whatever years he wants to stick around. Particularly if the reasoning for having to do that is largely Mitch Moreland.

                Mitch Moreland aint worth all that. At most im begrudgingly giving them Morton and Stewart and asking for some type of relief arm in return.

          • If Cervelli can put in an injury free season after his history why can’t Morse do the same thing?

            • Obviously any player *can* be healthy just like any player *can* be injured.

              Teams bet on risk probability, and there’s no imaginable way to logically call Morse anything but extremely risky.

      • Because the Pirates have time and time again failed to actually identify good 1B platoon candidates. I’ve been guilty myself of thinking some truly bad baseball players could make a perfectly good platoon, and I think it just comes down to teasing the numbers to show what you want.

        Sure, Mitch Moreland looks like a fine 1B platoon mate but so did Matt Diaz, Gabby Snchez, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alavrez, etc.

        • Hey, he’s not Will Clark. But I like him over Morse, or at least as a platoon partner.

  • Color me Dubious. I think I’d rather sign 53-year old Jamie Moyer. Same results, more entertaining.

    Go get Bartolo Colon.

  • YES!!!
    LLOYD says Masterson, Kazmir and Moreland as additions!!!!

    LLOYD

    ps…………Fooooooooooooooo

  • Well if we are looking at are reclamation projects, why not throw Lincecum’s name into the hat. And while we are at it, there is Brandon Marrow as well.

    • And Steve Blass. This is Ray Freaking Searage. He can turn water into wine. Get Blass throwing strikes with a 2seamer, we’re good.

      • Nah, I was thinking more like Bob Walk.

        • Loved watching him pitch.

          He just pitched really smart.
          My dad loved to say, “He’s got nothing.”
          Then Walk would go out and pitch 6 innings
          striking out 4 walking 2-3 giving up 3 runs
          on 6 hits and the Pirate end up winning 5-4.
          =

          • Yes, but that was a Buc team which could score runs; although I loved Walkie as a Bucco.

          • And the walks were usually to guys that he
            had just decided.. “I’m not pitching to that guy.”
            and would go on to get the next batter out.

            It took me a long time to get over his retirement.
            I am sure he could have gone a couple more
            years, but I guess he decided that he had enough.

            I would love to just shake his hand someday.

    • Morrow seems to be a pretty clear reliever at this point. Not sure its worth the time to try to stretch him out with other fine options around.

      I honestly think Lincecum’s arm is just dead. I always had doubts about his throwing motion+body type=longevity. Id take him on a 2 million dollar deal as a reliever. Needless to say, i value him about as low as possible.

      • Not sure about Morrow. He started 5 games last year, got hurt (has a history of that), then during rehab he ended up having surgery on his shoulder. He is a decent pitcher if you can keep him healthy.

        • Hasnt been healthy since 2012, might be time to settle into the bullpen and stop pushing it.

          Maybe he finally is healthy and remembers how to be good, but thats a longer stretch than nearly all other low buy options. Id rather take risks on a guy whose been real bad than who hasnt been healthy in 3 years.

    • I Always liked Brandon Morrow. He always seemed to have really good stuff and showed flashes of putting it together. Injuries seem to have really derailed his career

    • I wish Lincecum were still viable, but he doesn’t really fit with the past reclamation candidates since he has lost so much velocity. He started at 95 in 2007 and bottomed out at 88 last year. I don’t know if anyone can bring him back.

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