<
>

Red Sox offer RHP Justin Masterson

SAN DIEGO -- The Boston Red Sox made a contract offer Monday to former Sox pitcher Justin Masterson, according to a major league source.

Masterson was regarded as one of the team's brightest prospects before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2009 in the Victor Martinez deal. An All-Star for the Indians in 2013, when he had a 3.45 ERA and averaged better than a strikeout per inning, Masterson cratered in 2014, when he battled knee, shoulder and oblique muscle injuries. The Indians traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals at the trading deadline, but Masterson fared even more poorly for St. Louis, going 3-3 with a 7.04 ERA in nine appearances (six starts) and was left off the team's postseason roster.

Masterson, who turns 30 on March 22, could prove to be a bargain if he returns to health, and because of the midseason trade, he will not cost a signing team a draft pick as compensation. Masterson, who was unable to reach agreement with the Indians last spring on a long-term extension, is believed to be looking to re-establish his market value with a one- or two-year deal. He made $9.7 million last season, avoiding arbitration by signing a one-year deal.

With a power sinker that produces a ground ball percentage that has not been less than 55 percent in the past five seasons, Masterson was a durable performer for the Indians before he was hurt, giving them four straight seasons of at least 180 innings. Going back to Boston would reunite him with manager John Farrell, who was his pitching coach during his time in Boston.

The Red Sox are just one of a number of teams with interest in the 6-foot-6 right-hander. The Texas Rangers also have made an offer, a source told ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins.

At least one other team is expected to make Masterson an offer, the major league source told ESPNBoston.com.