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.
Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.
Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.
It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.