Justin Masterson to pitch exclusively out of the stretch for his next start

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Justin Masterson’s season has been godawful. He had a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts for the Indians and now he has a 7.43 ERA in five starts for the Cardinals. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his last appearance, allowing five runs. So now he’s going to try something different: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Masterson is going to work exclusively out of the stretch, abandoning his windup.

I suppose it can’t hurt given that everything else he has done has led to unmitigated disaster. But this strikes me as a desperation move. If the game Saturday wasn’t part of a doubleheader one questions whether he’d even get the start. And unless he is fantastic on Saturday, you figure this is the last start the Cards will give him, given that they’re fighting to make the playoffs and all.

Dodgers, Reds discussing a Yasiel Puig trade

Yasiel Puig
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Here’s a rumor from yesterday afternoon that sort of fell through the cracks, but it’s fun enough to think about for a few moments: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Reds have had “multiple” trade discussions involving Yasiel Puig.

Puig is a potential trade candidate, either (a) because he’s “disgruntled,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times last week; or (b) because the Dodgers want to clear salary and roster spots in order to sign a big-name player, according to Rosenthal here. Many people suspect that the Dodgers are going to make a run at Bryce Harper, for example, and if that’s the case they’d no doubt want to open up right field for him.

It seems questionable that any Reds-Dodgers talks would get a ton of traction, especially given that Rosenthal reports that there’s a possibility of the Dodgers taking on Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s still owed in order to get some talent back from the Reds in a trade. That would seem to defeat the purpose of unloading Puig’s salary, but this is the sort of things we all talk about now given that the league has, more or less, a defacto salary cap imposed by the Competitive Balance Tax.