Nick Masset signs two-year deal with Reds, avoids arbitration

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Cincinnati has bought out Nick Masset’s remaining arbitration eligibility, signing the right-hander to a two-year contract that MLB Trade Rumors reports is worth $5.5 million.

Masset made $1.725 million last season and submitted a $2.9 million figure for arbitration after throwing 70 innings with a 3.71 ERA and 62/31 K/BB ratio. Cincinnati countered at $2.1 million.

When the Reds acquired Masset from the White Sox in the mid-2008 deal for Ken Griffey Jr. he looked like little more than a fifth starter or long reliever, but he’s proven to be much more than that with a 3.07 ERA and 228 strikeouts in 240 innings for Cincinnati while adding velocity and emerging as a quality setup man.

Masset, who was already under team control for two more seasons, remains on track to become a free agent following 2013.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: