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Texas Rangers rumors: Justin Masterson has offer from Rangers, per Evan Grant

Evan Grant says the Rangers have made a contract offer to free agent pitcher Justin Masterson

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers rumors:  Justin Masterson, a free agent righthanded starting pitcher who split the 2014 season between Cleveland and St. Louis, has been made a contract offer by the Texas Rangers, according to Evan Grant.

Masterson was someone we profiled a couple of months ago as a potential target, and he's an interesting bounce-back candidate if you think he's healthy and his velocity will return.  Masterson, who turns 30 in March, had a disastrous 2014 campaign, putting up a 5.88 ERA and a 4.50 FIP in 128.2 IP for the Indians and Cardinals, with some red flags which I detailed in the above-linked piece.

Evan describes the market for Masterson as "robust," and so it doesn't sound like anything is close, although Evan's piece seems to indicate that this is the first free agent starter the Rangers have made a formal offer to (other than, of course, Colby Lewis, who is now signed).  My guess is that the Rangers are offering one year at $4-6M, with incentives based on innings that could make Masterson another $4-6M.

The timing of this is curious, as the Rangers have supposedly prioritized the trade market for adding a starting pitcher, and signing Masterson would seem to devote a significant chunk of their available cash, as well as a rotation spot, to him, rather than a trade target.  That leads me to wonder if the Rangers aren't leaking this offer in an effort to push a potential trade partner to decide on a deal -- the motivation could be to lead San Diego, or Cincinnati, or whomever, to believe the Rangers are ready to move on in another direction, and thus push the Padres or Reds or Team X to move to complete a deal with Texas now.