Bob Nightengale says that the Yankees are looking into trading for Justin Masterson. Meanwhile, Buster Olney says there are “no legs” to that rumor. Who’s to say they can’t both be right? Sure, any offer for Masterson would have to be dramatically reduced to compensate for having no legs. After all, as this lip-smacking, possibly-eating-while-video-podcasting YouTube pitching coach points out, back leg drive is an integral part of generating a pitcher’s velocity:
That said, Justin Masterson’s strong strikeout numbers are supported by his plus-plus ability to generate ground balls, and starting from closer to the ground may actually make Masterson more effective in keeping the ball down. This intriguing possibility could be worth a mid-level prospect, or a good A-ball arm for the Yankees.
But why would Cleveland agree to this? After all, Masterson’s pretty close to an ace starter, and surely they want to build on their surprise success in 2013. But if leg drive is so important to a pitcher, perhaps having two back legs would make a pitcher doubly effective. If Cleveland keeps Masterson’s legs, and turns, say, Cory Kluber into baseball’s first centaur, not only might his ZiPS-projected infinite-WAR become reality, but think how they’d piss off Alex Rodriguez. Bonus.
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