Justin Masterson is a popular free agent target this off-season. Shouldn’t the Colorado Rockies be one of the teams interested in adding him?
The Colorado Rockies have made pitching one of their priorities. They cannot afford to break the bank for a pitcher. Therefore, they need to look for bargains and opportunities to get high upside for lesser costs.
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Isn’t Justin Masterson exactly the kind of pitcher the Rockies should target?
As Jon Heyman of CBS notes, Masterson could be a bargain on this year’s free agent market. Not to be forgotten is the fact that Masterson was the opening day starter for the Indians last season. He has that kind of upside, and considering the uncertainty at the top of the Rockies’ rotation, they could certainly use that upside.
Of further relevance is this note about Masterson and his affordability, also from Jon Heyman:
"One more big bonus: he isn’t seeking a three-year deal for about $50 million as he was from the Indians last spring, and is said to expect perhaps $10 million a year on a one- or two-year deal."
Here’s the bad news: the Rockies will face significant competition for Masterson’s services. This might be a buy-low situation, but not to the extent that the Rockies won’t be outbid by a more attractive destination for a free agent pitcher. For example, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that a number of AL Central teams are interested in Masterson:
"Masterson, 30, has received inquiries from the four other teams in the AL Central – Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota and Chicago. The Chicago Cubs have shown interest as well. The Indians play the Cubs in a four-game home and away interleague series in June.Boston, the team that traded Masterson to the Indians in 2009, is also interested."
In order to beat out those teams for Masterson, the Rockies will have to likely overpay in terms of money or years. But they need to at least ask what it would take because Masterson, like left-handed starter Brett Anderson, is the kind of cheap, high upside pitcher that the Rockies need to get serious about in their pursuit of starting pitching.