I don’t care about the won-loss record (which doesn’t matter). I don’t even mind the 5.68 ERA (It’s still early, and early ERAs can be inflated). All I care about is the fact that Justin Masterson has been easily the weakest link in the Tribe’s starting rotation.
He’s not cut out to be a starter. The Red Sox realized this, and thus why they parted with him so easily.
(Before you start crying about how the Indians gave up Victor Martinez for a reliever, remember that Nick Hagadone is a very highly regarded prospect and some project him as a top-of-the-rotation starter. He does have a history of arm trouble, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2008. He’s made a full recovery and is one of the Indians top prospects.)
Back to Masterson, 7 ER in four IP simply isn’t going to cut it as a big league starter, I’m afraid.
The Indians, as an organization, have had a problem with this in years past (Jason Davis anyone?). Davis would have been a good setup guy, instead they forced him into the starter’s role and ruined him.
I don’t know about Masterson being a closer, although given Chris Perez’s struggles I wouldn’t be adverse to trying it. As is, Masterson would probably make a nasty setup guy though.
I understand the Indians’ viewpoint. The team really isn’t supposed to be going anywhere, so you can let Masterson deal with his growing pains in the starting rotation. And, while Masterson was not the only piece they received for Vic, the Tribe does want to maximize it’s return.
But how long is too long before you realize it just isn’t going to work?
Let’s hope either Masterson clicks, or the Tribe realizes it before they ruin him too.