Over the last two weeks, it has been reported that the Indians and Twins were both interested in free agent pitcher Justin Masterson. The White Sox and Tigers are also in the mix, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, and the Royals could be as well if they aren’t able to bring back James Shields. Call it a clean sweep for the AL Central.
Masterson missed 26 games between the end of June and early August with a right knee injury. It was revealed recently that he had also been pitching with ribcage and shoulder injuries in the latter half of the season.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a miserable 5.88 ERA with a 116/69 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings combined between the Indians and Cardinals. With his injury woes behind him, however, he makes for a good bounce-back candidate in the 2015 season.
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.