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St. Louis Cardinals free agents: Justin Masterson signs with Boston Red Sox

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The former Boston farmhand is returning to the organization that drafted him.

Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

Former St. Louis Cardinals righthander Justin Masterson signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday at the Winter Meetings.

The Cardinals traded for the righty at last season's non-waiver trade deadline while he was on the disabled list, hoping that he would bolster a starting rotation weakened by multiple injuries. The move didn't pan out. Masterson made six starts for St. Louis before the Cards relegated him to relief work. Masterson posted a 7.04 ERA, 5.84 FIP, and 4.22 xFIP over 30 2/3 innings pitching for the Redbirds. Between Cleveland and the Cards in 2014, Masterson's ERA was 5.88, to go with a 4.40 FIP and 4.08 xFIP.

The Cardinals are on the periphery of the pitching free-agent market this week, according to general manager John Mozeliak, lurking opportunistically. Later during the Hot Stove, they might add a fifth starter or long man type, if the price is right. And so Masterson, with the warts of injury, mechanical issues, and ineffectiveness that sprouted during 2014, might provide a guidepost regarding the type of pitcher and contract the Cards may ultimately enter into with a free agent.

Is a starter of a similar type to Masterson as a Carlos Martinez insurance policy worth a price somewhere between $7 and $10 million?