First off, a disclaimer: I don’t know Justin Masterson at all, I don’t know his personality or his view of free agency.
That said, what would you do if you were him? This, of course presumes he does *not* have a huge ego. If he does, dismiss all this, as he’d have to swallow a lot of his pride to do some of these things.
First, I’d focus on throwing my sinker as much as possible, getting my usage rate of it up there with the usage rate of Shelby Miller‘s fastball. The sinker is my best pitch after all, so maybe by maxing it out, I can turn things around a little. The usage rate is already high, but might as well up it even further as it’s my best pitch. Also, if/when Michael Wacha comes back, I’d happily yield my rotation spot to him and head to the bullpen. This would ease the pressure on me, allow me to focus on that sinker as well as let me work on my other pitches in a less stressful environment.
Then when free agency hits, I’d sign a one year contract with a team with a good pitching coach (Lilliquist/Molina are pretty good so the Cards are a possibility) find a pitching guru in the off season and work with him. Heck I’d live in his basement. The last thing I’d do is take the offseason off, not if I want to rebuild my career.
I wouldn’t give up on the idea of being a starter, not until I’ve tried my best to regain my effectiveness in that role.
Thanks for reading.