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Indians trade Masterson to Cardinals for minor league outfielder

July 30, 2014
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The Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals completed a deal today sending right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson to the Cardinals in exchange for minor league outfielder James Ramsey.

Masterson, 29, is in the midst of an inconsistent season going 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts. In 98.0 innings he has allowed 106 hits, 6 home runs, 56 walks and has 93 strikeouts. He is making $9.8 million this season and was a major disappointment as he was expected to help lead the Indians staff, but he has put forth a career worst 1.65 WHIP and 5.1 BB/9, some of which is the result of poor command and a lack of velocity this season. He has been on the disabled list the past few weeks with a knee issue and was expected to come off the disabled list on Friday and start in Cleveland.

Masterson was set to be a free agent this season and at this point the Indians must have determined that they were not going to risk giving him the qualifying offer and wanted to get something for him now rather than lose him for nothing. He will be free to sign with any team this offseason without limitations since the Cardinals cannot extend a qualifying offer to him, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that he returns to the Indians next season.

Ramsey, 24, is a left-handed hitting outfielder who was hitting .300 with 13 homers, 36 RBI and .916 OPS in 67 games with Double-A Springfield this season. He was the Cardinals 2012 first round pick and is a career .266 hitter with 30 homers, 101 RBI and .802 OPS in 235 games.

User Comments

July 31, 2014 - 9:29 AM EDT
I do not know how anyone could not like this deal.

At the end of the year we were going to get NOTHING - just like we got all year - NOTHING.

The fact we got a near ready decent prospect is actually a pleasant surprise.

I have no idea what Masterson's problem is this year. It sure seems like the pressure of big contracts is getting to this team. Only Gomes is delivering value for money.

I personally would like to see Kipnis replaced at 2b. Last night a grounder got by on his right that I thought should have been caught. A 2b that hits .250 and cannot field is a liability - not an asset.

The team needs to restructure and moving Kipnis while he still has value seems to me to be one way to achieve the restructuring.

July 30, 2014 - 6:50 PM EDT
Part of me loves the fact that we got a Cardinals' first round pick who is thriving in AA a little more than 2 years after he was drafted. The Cards rarely miss on their draft picks and they are also probably the best organization in baseball when it comes to developing minor leaguers. So Ramsey will probably be an above average player, and perhaps a borderline all star some years.

But another part of me scratches my head on this with everyone else. The left-handedness, of course, rankles when all of your top young major league talent (minus switch hitting Santana) hits from the same side. And OF seems like one of the stronger--or at least more crowded--positions on the Tribe's major league and upper minor league rosters. Next year's starting OF is set in stone for salary (Bourn, Murphy) purposes as well as performance (Brantley is now a fixture). Naquin, Miles, Holt, and Mocrief are all interesting options in the near term, and the team just sent two high-profile amateur draft picks on Zimmer and Papi, college bats that could shoot through the system.

Part of me thinks (hopes?) this is just the prelude for bigger moves before the deadline, after the deadline, and even the offseason. What this organization really needs is starting pitching prospects. Preferably ones that can challenge for a spot in next year's rotation. Maybe the glut of outfielders and the even bigger glut of legit MI prospects will allow Anotnetti to wheel and deal his way to one or two big time SP prospects who will make things interesting in Goodyear next spring.
July 30, 2014 - 4:57 PM EDT
I don't have a problem with trading Masterson now, but am incredulous that they would think they need another lefty-hitting OF, especially with limited power.
July 30, 2014 - 4:31 PM EDT
Not sure about Lackey. He will be what? 36 next season? He won't play for the 500k, so he'll ask for 2 or 3 year deal and can "threaten" with retirement, so he has some leverage in negotiations. If the Indians didn't want to give that kind of deal to Kazmir or even Masterson, why would they give it to Lackey?
What would we have to give up to get 2-3 years of him, if two months of Masterson cost Ramsey? I don't want to lose JRam or the comp pick for Lackey, but that's what it is going to cost us, at least. I guess Moncrief has become a trade chip now with Ramsey in Columbus.

Anyway, I hope the Marlins offer more than we do. Seems silly to me to get into a bidding for Lackey, but it really depends on what they'd give up for him.
July 30, 2014 - 4:09 PM EDT
Curious...we could see more activity from the Tribe than we anticipated. The Tribe still has ACab, Axford, Murphy and Raburn. ACab and Axford seem the most likely candidates. Its highly unlikely Swisher or Bourn get moved unless the. Tribe eats a lot of salary.

John Lackey seems like a probable target for the Tribe, he's got a small salary next yr - that would be beneficial for the Tribe and he's pitched pretty well too. I wouldn't rule out the Tribe making a move for him, maybe Kennedy (I've heard nothing on him) or another arm to bolster the rotation for this yr and beyond. Lackey seems like a good target bc of his salary, and he might be amiable to a short extension (2yrs).
July 30, 2014 - 3:47 PM EDT
Not sure what to think of this...

"another LHB OF, really?" was my first thought too, but I was very high on him 2 years ago in the draft and preferred him over Naquin, so there's that. It's a good return overall, hard to complain. He was blocked in the Cards system which had great OF depth in their upper levels.

Don't like his splits, seems to be a platoon guy only (though a .250 BA and .728 OPS aren't bad, but those are vs AA pitchers).

Any info on his defense? Can he play CF? or does he have to move to a corner spot? If he can play CF, it could make Bourn available.
July 30, 2014 - 3:38 PM EDT
Left handed batter, right handed thrower, average arm, speed, power. Masterson needed to go, wish him well, but I doubt he is "changed" and I doubt St. Louis will get anything more out of him than the Indians did this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him somewhere else next year. They say Ramsey is very coachable. Maybe he continues to improve at the Triple A level and the Indians flip him or maybe they trade Kipnis and try him at second base, which is his natural position. I am not expecting much from Ramsey, but I am happy not to have to deal w the Masterson charade
Good bye Justin.. Don't let the door hit you in the other knee on the way out.
July 30, 2014 - 3:24 PM EDT
Well - I am not overly pleased with the return.. Could be worse could have been better too.. Hopefully Ramsey is better than what he appears to be on paper.
July 30, 2014 - 3:15 PM EDT
Now my thoughts turn to ACab and John Axford. Hopefully, the Tribe can get a SP prospect in return for ACab.
July 30, 2014 - 3:09 PM EDT
Ramsey is a solid pickup for the Tribe, I would have preferred the comp from St. Louis and a player, but it's hard to complain about a near big league ready OF. Ramsey is a guy I think could hit .265 -.275 15hrs 20-25 dbls and 10 sb. Nothing great about him, but a nice get. He was 7th rated prospect in one of the best farm systems in baseball.

Side note: Ramsey was drafted several pks after Tyler Naquin as a SR. from Florida State.
July 30, 2014 - 3:08 PM EDT
Have to say, I'm disappointed in this. Would've hoped for a lower level RIGHT handed OF with power potential.

Yet another lefty OF bat. Really?

Though I do get it that Masterson 's value has declined and that this must have been the best option that Antonetti had on the table.

Certainly doesn't help the team now other than offer a bit of salary relief. Remains to be seen if it translates to help in the somewhat near future.

Certainly don't know much about this guy but probably doesn't speak well of FO take on Moncrief (Naquin, Myles and others) most likely.

At least it clears up what to do about Masterson near term and at season's end with the QO. I did feel that a healthy McCallister is preferable to an injured Masterson. Tomlin too for that matter.

Sad to see the Masterson era come to an end, esp in this way. He was a fav of many. Hopefully it points to other housecleaning for the tribe roster in the coming days.
July 30, 2014 - 3:04 PM EDT
Agreed @Walter

I know it's hindsight but at the time, before the season, I was saying the same thing. There was little hope of signing him to a long term contract and the time was then to maximize his value. Still, I think Ramsey is a better than expected return.
July 30, 2014 - 2:54 PM EDT
I know I'm playing arm chair QB here, but the Indians should have traded him before 2014 season. They would have gotten more in return. Maybe in the long run this trade will work out for the Indians. Looks like Ramsey might have more power potential than David Murphy.

With now having Moncrief and Ramsey, there is no reason to hold on to David Murphy.

Kind of surprised they got this much for him. I really thought they would have to wait during the August trade waiver period to trade him.
July 30, 2014 - 2:46 PM EDT
Yep, he will go to Columbus. He sounds like a David Murphy-type to me.....which is not a bad thing. Solid, complementary player with plus-plus makeup.
July 30, 2014 - 2:38 PM EDT
Never mind, just saw he is going to Columbus
July 30, 2014 - 2:37 PM EDT
Does Ramsey go to Columbus or Akron?

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