This is not a rumor. I repeat, not a rumor. This is an honest-to-goodness trade report. According to Peter Gammons, the Cleveland Indians are trading pitcher Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Cleveland will receive outfielder James Ramsey as part of the deal.
The 24-year-old Ramsey, a top prospect with the Cardinals, is hitting .300 this year in double-A Springfield with 13 HR and 36 RBI.
Masterson (29) is 4-6 this year with the Indians with a 5.51 ERA and lofty 1.635 WHIP in 19 starts. In seven years with the Red Sox and Indians, he has compiled a 57-69 career record in 231 games. His best season was 2013 when he went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA for the surprisingly good Cleveland ball club.
The Cardinals move to acquire Masterson, not exactly one of the top pitchers on the market you would have to admit, signals that they were probably never seriously in on Jon Lester, Cole Hamels or any of the other bigger names. Unless there’s another, bigger trade coming. But I would tend to doubt it.
I’ll say this about Masterson: He is exactly the kind of pitcher the Cardinals have taken and turned around in the past. That organization has a history of transforming crap into gold when it comes to pitchers.
If the Cardinals can turn Masterson around fast enough, he can be a factor for them down the stretch. They currently sit 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central with Pittsburgh between them and Milwaukee.