Marlins Free Agents Targets: Justin Masterson


The Marlins have starting pitching on the top of their list in need of upgrades. With Jose Fernandez not returning until mid-season in 2015, the Marlins are looking for a top of the rotation starter to fill his spot. Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Tom Koehler, and one of the Marlins prospects are expected to fill out the rest of the rotation. Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino are the top three options that will fight for a spot in spring training. Nathan Eovaldi, Miami’s number two starter, at the beginning of the year, has been used lately in trade discussions and his time as a Marlin may be coming to an end. Even if Eovaldi does stay with the fish next year, he would likely end up in the bullpen.

The Marlins have been linked to one of the top free agent pitchers in James Shields. Nevertheless, some recent reports suggest that a deal with him is unlikely. Many still question how serious the Marlins are about spending to surround Giancarlo Stanton. A name that Marlins could look to bring in is Justin Masterson.

Masterson, an all-star in 2013, can be an interesting force for multiple teams. Masterson is a known starter but has been used in the bullpen numerous times throughout his career. As for the Marlins, he would ideally be plugged into the rotation. Masterson had an excellent year in 2013 as he pitched to a 9.1 K/9 (strikeout per nine innings) and a 3.45 ERA. The well-known sinker baller was not the same in 2014 mostly due to health reasons. Masterson was traded mid-season from the Cleveland Indians to the St. Louis Cardinals. The 29-year-old pitched through his injuries this past season and still managed to start 25 games.

If everything medically checks out, Masterson can be regarded as one of the best pitching bargains available. Even though the Marlins should take a shot at Masterson, is he a top of the rotation starter? Miami does have depth in their system for starting pitching. The Marlins would be better off signing a bigger name free agent or even trading for one. However, Masterson would provide depth and can always be moved to the bullpen.

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