Washington Nationals Sign Nick Masset To Minor League Deal

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The Nats continue to add bullpen arms this winter as they signed former Reds’ reliever Nick Masset to a minor league deal.

Throughout this offseason, the Washington Nationals have brought in new bullpen arms, whether It be on major or minor league deals (in the case of Sean Burnett). Yesterday, the Nats added another arm into the mix by signing Nick Masset to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training:

Last season, Masset played for two NL East teams, the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves. In 28 games (25 innings), he went 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA. The right-hander only played eight games in Miami before being cut in May. He would sign with Atlanta soon after, but the Braves ended up releasing him in July.

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One of the reasons the Nationals might be taking a flyer on Masset is that he played for Dusty Baker in Cincinnati. The 33-year-old played for Baker from 2008-2011. He went 13-11 with a 3.07 ERA. From 2009-2011, he appeared in 74+ games, including 82 appearances in 2010 (a career-high).

After signing a two-year deal with the Reds after the 2011 season, Masset had shoulder injuries that caused him to miss the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He would end up signing with the Rockies on a minor league deal before the 2014 season.

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Due to the injuries, Masset’s velocity has dropped on his fastball. According to Fangraphs, his average velocity went from 94 miles per hour with Cincinnati in 2011 down to 92 miles per hour this season with Miami and Atlanta. Masset’s pitch arsenal also includes a curveball, split finger, and cutter.

When you look at this move by the Nats, they bring in a player that the manager has experience coaching and it’s on a minor league deal, so there isn’t much risk involved, if any. Plus, after the Nationals had all their injuries in the bullpen last season, they had to rely on a lot of rookies such as Rafael Martin, Matt Grace, and Felipe Rivero to pitch valuable innings.

Even if Masset doesn’t make the team, he could be an option at triple-A Syracuse. Over the course of his minor league career, Masset is 5-10 at the triple-A level with a 4.44 ERA. With this signing, the Nats are hoping that Masset can show signs of what he was in 2010 when he was one of the key relievers on a playoff team.

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