For better or worse, the Red Sox rotation has been rebuilt. Free agent Justin Masterson is returning to the team that drafted him on a one-year deal, joining Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly as Boston’s new starting corps.
USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that Masterson will earn about $9 million. ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to report the deal.
Masterson won 14 games with a 3.45 ERA for the Indians in 2013 before falling apart last year and going 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA. His velocity was down three mph right from the get-go last year, which he later admitted was due to knee problems. He expects to be healthier this season, and he purposefully sought a one-year deal in an effort to rebuild his value.
This still isn’t really an ideal group for the Red Sox. Certainly, there isn’t a guy you’d feel particularly good about leading your rotation heading into a postseason series. Still, it should be pretty solid, and the Red Sox will still have plenty of artillery to go get a Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto in July, depending on how things progress.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.