Justin Masterson has finally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and for a minor league deal too. It makes you think his rehab has not gone as well as hoped.
He will now try to regain some former form, or at least consistent ground balls with the side of strike out. The Pirates did leave open the possibility for Masterson as a reliever, which right now looks like the bigger need. Although he is going to begin as a starter. Nicasio has been pretty good and Locke is not awful, so he has some work to do to break the rotation. But the bullpen . . .
The bullpen has struggled and already used several different guys. Masterson would give a nice long man piece or even just a flex guy. Although replacing Voglesong with someone would make me feel a little better. Without Hughes the pen lacks a consistent fourth man. Watson and Melancon are solid. Feliz looks decent enough so far. But other than that the group really looks bad. Schugel and Scahill are emergency replacements and look like it. Vogelsong is the long guy with declining skills. Lobstein is inconsistent and Caminero has shown flashes of greatness, but has also been lit up. The bullpen desperately needs Hughes back.
Hughes can help calm the mess being a pitcher who can be trusted in high stress situations. This can move Caminero back to lower stress situations, and perhaps more rest in-between outings, hopefully improving his consistency. It will drop one of the emergency guys back to AAA as well. But it still leaves some upgradeable slots that Masterson would upgrade. If Vogelsong is untouchable, it at least pushes the other emergency guy back to AAA or perhaps removes the need for Lobstein with a more tried MLB pitcher.
I for one am very hopeful that Masterson can perform at AAA and get into the Pirate bullpen.
And maybe just maybe we can make it to that moment when you see Taillon take the mound . . .
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