Justin Masterson and his $9.5 million contract predictably passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox and the veteran right-hander has now been released.
That means Masterson is free to sign with any team for whatever contract he can get after posting a 5.61 ERA in 59 innings for the Red Sox split between the rotation and bullpen.
He should be able to latch on somewhere as a middle reliever, but Masterson will probably be looking at an incentive-laden deal this offseason.
Justin Masterson allowed a solo home run to Jefry Marte in his one inning of relief in Sunday’s win against the Tigers. The Red Sox designated him for assignment after the game, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.
The Red Sox signed Masterson to a one-year, $9.5 million deal in December despite his struggles in 2014 with the Indians and Cardinals. The right-hander had put together a few solid seasons, including in 2011 and 2013, but he never could get going.
Masterson compiled a 5.61 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP and a 49/27 K/BB ratio over 59 1/3 innings — split between nine starts and nine relief appearances — for the Red Sox this season.
Boston’s roster is being overhauled today. In addition to putting Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list and calling up both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero from Triple-A the Red Sox have also demoted right-hander Joe Kelly to Pawtucket.
Kelly actually managed to stay in the rotation for a month after reports of him being “clearly on thin ice” surfaced in late May, but the Red Sox eventually got tired of waiting for him to turn things around. Kelly posted a 5.67 ERA in 14 starts and heads back to the minors at age 27 and with more than 400 career innings as a big leaguer.
Last year’s trade deadline swap that sent John Lackey to the Cardinals for Kelly and Allen Craig looks like a total bust for the Red Sox. Kelly has a 4.96 ERA in 24 starts for Boston, Craig has hit .130 in 53 games for Boston, and now they’re teammates in Pawtucket.
Justin Masterson will step into Kelly’s rotation spot, although he may not be on the sturdiest of ice himself.