Justin Masterson is returning home to the Boston Red Sox.
Masterson agreed today to a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the team that originally drafted him in the second round of the 2006 amateur draft.
This time last year, the lanky right-hander looked primed to earn a multi-year, big money payday in free agency.
At the time Masterson was coming off a brilliant 2013 season with Cleveland that saw him win 14 games with a 3.45 ERA, 1.202 WHIP, three shutouts, and 195 strikeouts in 193.0 innings.
Masterson’s performance earned him a spot on the American League All-Star team.
Unfortunately for Masterson, the 2014 season wouldn’t be nearly as kind.
His velocity was down coming out of spring training and he suffered a knee injury that plagued him all season and would eventually send him to the disabled list with Cleveland.
Masterson was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deadline deal, but was even worse in St. Louis and was relegated to a bullpen role by season’s end.
On the whole, Masterson finished 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA and 1.565 WHIP between both clubs.
Masterson, 28, entered the market looking for a one-year deal to rebuild his value before trying to land a long-term deal next offseason. Given his past production and high-upside he had a number of teams interested in his services.
Ultimately, he chose to return to where it all started and re-join the Red Sox.
Fun Fact: The Red Sox newly acquired trio of groundball pitchers will collectively cost around $26 million in 2015, which is just shy of the average annual value of Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.