The Padres are moving in a youthful direction with the focus going towards building for the future. But, that doesn’t mean that if a free agent could come to San Diego on the cheap and benefit the team both this coming season and, in one way or another, the long term future. This free agent is starting pitcher Justin Masterson who has had a bleak season with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. In a free agent market highlighted by starting pitchers Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields the law of supply and demand will push Masterson’s value way down. This will open him up to small market teams like the Padres who could make a run at the 29-year-old and slot him into their pitching staff along with Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, and a few other options like Odrisamer Despaigne and Josh Johnson (God forbid) among others. Masterson’s price will be determined, as always, by which teams snatch up the bigger free agents and how much they pay. But, if the Padres could sign Masterson to a team friendly deal they’ll have an opportunity to utilize him in a way other than what he does on the pitcher’s mound.
Mandatory Credit: Billy Brost
This past off season the Chicago Cubs signed starter Jason Hammel to a one year deal. There intention from day one was for him to pitch well enough for them to trade him for a high price before the July 31st Trade Deadline. On the Fourth of July they did just that, sending a bundle of Jeff Samardzija and Hammel to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell, pitcher Dan Straily and minor league outfielder Billy McKinney. Chicago’s farm system was bolstered significantly by an move made before the start of the season. Were the Padres to sign Masterson this off season he could provide them with some pretty nice prospects were they to take advantage of the need for starting pitching that is always present in a number of teams by mid season.
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Will Masterson be wooed enough by a one year deal to come to the Padres? Probably not but a deal with the former Indians ace could be beneficial for both parties. The bigger ballparks of the National League West should help Masterson’s performance throughout the season and give the Padres a big boost in the pitching staff and maybe the farm system.