Detroit Tigers Rumors: Justin Masterson to Fill Fifth Starter Spot in 2015?


Old man winter may be rolling into the Motor City, but the Detroit Tigers rumors are just heating up. A few short weeks ago, when the Tigers announced the re-signing of designated hitter Victor Martinez, many wondered if that meant the club would be saying adios to their former Cy Young award winning pitcher, Max Scherzer.

Scherzer is widely considered the top pitcher on the free agent market, and will likely be a hot commodity as the 2015 season approaches. When Dave Dombrowski was asked if Scherzer could still return to Detroit next season, the Tigers president and general manager told MLB Network Radio recently that anything is a possibility.

"“But I will say that we’re comfortable with the four starters that we have,” he said on Nov. 14 at Comerica Park, “and we’re also comfortable going with the fifth guy who’s a young guy in that situation.”"

There is no denying that the Tigers do possess four solid starters in Justin Verlander, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello. However, if Scherzer were to break his ties with Detroit, the Tigers would undoubtedly be left with some uncertainty as to his replacement in the starting line up may be.

With lefties Kyle Lobstein, Robbie Ray and Kyle Ryan and righties Buck Farmer and Drew VerHagen waiting in the wings, Detroit is reportedly keeping an eye open outside of the organization as well.

Earlier this week, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that Detroit had inquired about Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals starter, Justin Masterson.

Masterson, 30, is rumored to be interested in a one year deal in order to rebuild his value after a poor showing in 2014.

Masterson is 2-9 with a 5.57 ERA in 82 1/3 innings against the Tigers, but has a 4.24 ERA and 3.89 FIP in 1141 2/3 career innings overall. He made an All-Star appearance in 2013, but as mentioned before, was awful in 2014. The right-hander allowed a 5.88 ERA in 128 2/3 innings between the Indians and St. Louis Cardinals last year.

There is some upside too though.

Masterson has been a ground ball machine throughout his career and he rarely gives up home runs. He also has the stuff to generate strikeouts, and was able to fan a batter per inning in 2013.

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With that in mind he also walked a career high 4.83 batters per nine innings last season, resulting in his worst FIP since 2008. There is also his apparent trouble against left-handed hitters, allowing them to hit .287/.367/.427 with 67 home runs in just under 2800 career plate appearances.

Whether or not Max Scherzer will return to Detroit next season remains an unknown at this point in time. If he does indeed take his talents elsewhere, I have a hard time imagining the Tigers taking a one-year gamble on Masterson. With Dombrowski calling the shots though, anything is a possibility.

Next: MLB Trade Rumors: Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers?

What do you think? If Max Scherzer doesn’t return to Detroit in 2015, who is the clubs best option as a fifth starter in the pitching rotation? Let us know in the comments section below! Also, be sure to give us a “like” on Facebook as well as a follow on Twitter!

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