Cardinals demote trade deadline pickup Justin Masterson to the bullpen

13 Comments

At the trade deadline the Cardinals attempted to bolster their injury wrecked rotation with a pair of veterans by getting John Lackey from the Red Sox and Justin Masterson from the Indians.

Lackey has a 4.23 ERA through six starts, but Masterson has a 7.90 ERA in six starts and has now been demoted to the bullpen.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will likely replace Masterson in the rotation with rookie Tyler Lyons or rookie Marco Gonzales, so clearly manager Mike Matheny has lost all faith in Masterson.

And rightfully so, because before struggling for the Cardinals he also struggled for the Indians and overall this season the impending free agent has a 6.03 ERA in 25 starts while pitching through multiple injuries. Masterson does have relief experience, but he hasn’t been used regularly out of the bullpen since 2009 and it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals trusting him in anything resembling a prominent late-inning role.

The cost to get Masterson from Cleveland was mid-level prospect James Ramsey, a 24-year-old outfielder and 2012 first-round draft pick. He was assigned to Triple-A following the trade and hit .284 with three homers and an .833 OPS in 28 games there to finish with an .890 OPS overall this year.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.