JUPITER -- Miami signed Nick Masset in January in order to add bullpen depth, but Masset wants to make a statement. After agreeing to terms on a minor league deal, the 32-year old reliever, who has been plagued by injuries, is healthy and hoping to win a roster spot at the end of the spring.
"Wonderful," Masset said with regard to how he has felt this spring. "The arm feels good and the stuff has been good. I'm really happy that I'm healthy and feeling good. Now I just need to dial it in a little bit more. I'm doing everything I can to make sure I'm on this team this year."
Masset spent 2014 pitching for Colorado. In 45 innings, he posted a 5.80 ERA and 4.33 FIP while appearing in 51 games. Last season was Masset's first after taking a two-year absence because of shoulder issues and thoracic outlet syndrome. Masset's .371 average on balls in play was also the third highest among pitchers who had thrown at least 40 innings.
After weighing his options, Masset opted to sign with Miami because of the experience of the front office and the coaching staff. He also wanted to sign with a squad whose spring facility was in Florida so he could be closer to his wife and two daughters.
"It starts with Dan Jennings, who has a good track record of putting teams together," Masset said. "[Mike] Redmond knows his guys and has his players' best interest in mind at all times. Chuck Hernandez has been around the game a long time. It was a pretty easy decision for me, and I'm going to do what I need to do to be with the big league team and win a championship."
Masset pitched the sixth inning of the Marlins' 4-2 victory over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon. He allowed three hits and a pair of runs but still "felt good and strong."
"All in all, I felt healthy and strong," Masset said after Sunday's contest. "There were times where I elevated my pitches and they put pretty good swings on them. A couple of hits were good pitches I felt, down and away. I battled myself a little bit getting behind in the count. At the end of the day, I have some things I need to work on mechanically and make sure I execute my pitches."
Masset was productive as a setup man for the Reds. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA in four seasons with Cincinnati, and was notably efficient in 2009 when he posted a 2.37 ERA and 3.23 FIP in 76.0 innings. Masset signed a two-year, $5.5 million extension with the Reds but was unable to pitch for the organization after the two sides agreed on a deal. While the Reds have several younger players, the youth in Miami's bullpen also intrigued Masset.
"The cool thing here is everybody is young, everybody is fresh, and everybody is strong," Masset said. "Everybody is going to come out and be competitive every day. Stuff wise, I think it's a dominant bullpen. There are a lot of dominant arms. I don't think anybody is going to back down. Everybody will give it their all day in and day out."
Although the Marlins have A.J. Ramos, Aaron Crow, David Phelps, Bryan Morris, and Steve Cishek as right-handed bullpen options, Masset is confident if he can become consistent, he will make the 25-man roster and thrive in 2015.
"I just have to show them who I am and who I've been before," Masset said. "I think I need to get better as far as executing my pitches. They know who I am and what I can do. I know what I could do. For me, it's just go out and execute."