Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson

The Cardinals have bolstered their starting rotation depth by acquiring Justin Masterson from the Indians in exchange for top outfield prospect James Ramsey. Both teams have officially announced the deal. Right-hander Michael Wacha has been moved to the 60-day DL to make room on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

Masterson, 29, is currently on the disabled list (he’s set to be activated this weekend) and in the midst of a down season as he heads into free agency. He’s earning $9.7625MM this season, of which roughly $3.3MM remains.

Masterson looked the part of a top-of-the-rotation starter in 2013, posting a 3.45 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 58.5 percent ground-ball rate in 193 innings. He’s battled a knee issue for most of this season, which could very likely have contributed to his 5.51 ERA and bloated walk rate (5.1 BB/9).

Masterson’s fastball velocity has declined significantly this season, falling from an average of 91.6 mph in 2013 to 89.1 in 2014. However, Masterson’s now former pitching coach Mickey Callaway said earlier in the month that he felt Masterson’s knee injury had altered his mechanics, which could explain the dip in velocity as well as the increase in walks.

The Cardinals have been on the lookout for rotation help for weeks now, having also been connected to Jake Peavy as well as aces David Price and Jon Lester. Masterson comes with upside, to be sure; FIP, xFIP and SIERA all feel his skill-set should have resulted in an ERA in the low 4.00s this season, and he’s had a good deal of past success. However, his injury and ineffective results will leave some Cardinals fans wondering if he’s truly an upgrade over internal options.

That remains to be seen, but the Cardinals felt that Masterson could bolster their starting  pitching in light of Michael Wacha‘s injury and the struggles of Shelby Miller. While Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn are reliable arms atop the rotation, Joe Kelly has been injured for most of the season, and Carlos Martinez would shatter last season’s innings total were he to remain in the rotation over the final two months (to say nothing of the postseason).

As for the Indians, they’ll receive Ramsey, a 2012 first-round pick that ranked seventh among Cardinals prospects on Baseball America’s midseason list and ranked sixth according to Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. The 24-year-old is hitting .300/.389/.527 with 13 homers in 281 Double-A plate appearances this season. Callis and Mayo note that Ramsey has the speed to play center field (though he’s not a huge threat on the bases) and the arm to play right field if a change is needed. He draws a fair amount of walks and has shown more power than some anticipated coming out of college, the MLB.com duo adds.

Peter Gammons first reported that Masterson was headed to St. Louis (on Twitter), and Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report Ramsey’s involvement in the trade (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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213 Comments on "Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson"


Travis2014
1 year 1 month ago

Shocked they didn’t go for one of the aces.

robbyb
1 year 1 month ago

He was..

YoungWerther
1 year 1 month ago

two years ago.

Joe Forkner
1 year 1 month ago

Championship!

Erik DC Murray
1 year 1 month ago

lol you silly man u

Matt Talken
1 year 1 month ago

You just made me think of the South Park Underpants Gnomes:

Step 1: Acquire Justin Masterson.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Championship!

abanda12
1 year 1 month ago

Haha cx

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 1 month ago

I hope this isn’t their big move.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

I hope so too. If they’re getting another pitcher, with this deal, it looks like one of the starters is on his way out, Miller perhaps? With Wacha back, bringing in another pitcher after Masterson, would mean Waino, Wacha, Lynn, Masterson, and Miller, add another starter and one of those guys has to go. Miller more than likely. Lynn’s pitched great this year, but hasn’t gotten run support lately.

Kën Shrëk
1 year 1 month ago

Wacha isn’t due back until September

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

Masterson likely moves to the bullpen when Wacha comes back. That leaves a rotation of Wainwright, Lynn, Wacha, Kelly, and Miller, which is already one of the best rotations in the National League. There’s no need to sell the farm to make it even better than that.

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

Masterson likely moves to the bullpen when Wacha comes back. That leaves a rotation of Wainwright, Lynn, Wacha, Kelly, and Miller, which is already one of the best rotations in the National League. There’s no need to sell the farm to make it even better than that.

danistheguy
1 year 1 month ago

Somebody did something!

vtadave
1 year 1 month ago

And here we go. Not going to get much work done in the next 25 hours or so.

mike
1 year 1 month ago

This can’t be it.

Pei Kang
1 year 1 month ago

Let’s hope not…

javywoz
1 year 1 month ago

Was really hoping if the Rays traded Price to anybody, it would be the Cards, oh well. Doubtful now.

1 year 1 month ago

Well this came out of nowhere.

Gumby65
1 year 1 month ago

Pitch counts just went up in St. Louis

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

What do you mean? Masterson is an innings eater. He’ll help the bullpen get more rest without adjusting how much the other starters pitch.

Gumby65
1 year 1 month ago

Here lately, the innings have been eating him, then burping in the 5th.

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

That’s still no worse than Martinez.

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

What do you mean? Masterson is an innings eater. He’ll help the bullpen get more rest without adjusting how much the other starters pitch.

Joe Forkner
1 year 1 month ago

Does this trade make the Pirates better?

AB4EYE
1 year 1 month ago

Classic Mo not ever wanting to part with prospects

JacksTigers
1 year 1 month ago

Hard to complain when they’ve won two WS in his tenure.

CJ Travis
1 year 1 month ago

One, actually. Walt Jocketty was the GM for the ’06 title run.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe he meant two WS appearances. I mean, people scrutinized Mo when he made that trade with Toronto and it propelled them to a WS title in 11.

CJ Travis
1 year 1 month ago

Agreed. That was a hard trade at the time, too. Looking at Masterson’s numbers on B-R, I’m underwhelmed. Holding out hope they pull the trigger on Price, but I’m not holding my breath.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

I’d be fine with Price, or Hamels. I’m not keen on Lester due to him wanting to be back in Boston after this season. Hamels is under contract until after the 2018 season so he’d make more sense. And the way the Rays are playing, I doubt Price gets dealt.

CJ Travis
1 year 1 month ago

Your logic makes a lot of sense. Hamels would be a fine pickup, assuming StL would be okay with the payroll (assuming yes). Philly is presumably out of it, and it doesn’t make much sense for TB to wave the white flag with as hot as they’ve been. Didn’t think of the Lester returning to BOS after the season, that’s a good point.

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

Was it hard? People fall in love with bad prospects way too much and it was clear to anyone really paying attention that Colby Rasmus needed to check his attitude and get humble. He wasn’t willing to do it in St. Louis, he still seems rather unable to really put it all together in Toronto. I was glad to see him go.

Same as I’ll be happy to see Carlos Martinez hit the door since his attitude looks to be fairly poor and doesn’t match up to his performance. He’s running on hype at this point and I’d be thrilled to send him along for a world series appearance.

CJ Travis
1 year 1 month ago

At the time it was. I don’t remember StL having the depth in OF at the time of that trade. The return was head scratching at the time, but nobody will argue with the end result and the impact those guys had (Scrabble, E. Jackson).

I recall Rasmus and TLR weren’t big fans of one another and that probably made it easier to move him on. Regardless of personal feelings for a player, (right or wrong) I recall having similar feelings for that trade as I do the Masterson trade. It’s certainly easy to play arm chair QB during trade deadline.

Alistair Bortles
1 year 1 month ago

running on HYPE?? Have you watched Carlos Martinez pitch? He has some of the best stuff in baseball. He needs develop a pitch to get Lefties out more often..and he needs to work on control….the stuff is there though

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

I’ve watched him pitch, but I’ve also watched his attitude and he looks like a guy who doesn’t want to be coached.

So those other things he needs to learn, maybe he’s not so interested in learning them. Until he does, he’s got a lot of hype but no production.

I’d let someone else take the risk that he’s gonna mature properly and get back a known quantity and an invested professional instead.

AB4EYE
1 year 1 month ago

One Thanks to Nelson Cruz misplay in RF, but if they had the guts to make Impact moves they could have 3 of them.

Danny Phillips
1 year 1 month ago

Of course a move that wasn’t rumored is the first shoe to drop.

CardsFan1980
1 year 1 month ago

I think it is their big move. Was expecting more

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Hey, remember 2011? that move they made with Toronto helped them to a WS title? I hope this isn’t their only move, but Mo has made weird moves that has worked out for them.

Damon Musha
1 year 1 month ago

Hmmm, I look at Masterson as a guy that’s not really going to help much this year, but if he can rework his mechanics he could come back strong in ’15. Cards are buying low, it could pay back longer-term.

robbyb
1 year 1 month ago

Isnt he a free agent at the end of the year?

gnats
1 year 1 month ago

Yep.

cgriffith
1 year 1 month ago

As a Tigers fan I like this; as a baseball fan I guess the AL Central is just giving us the division

Tribe82
1 year 1 month ago

Uh…what?

Ausome7
1 year 1 month ago

The tigers destroy Masterson

dieharddodgerfan
1 year 1 month ago

I thought the Cards would be in on Lester or Price. Also, am I wrong in my opinion that the Cards also need an impact bat? Seems like their offense could still use some help.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

We don’t really have a spot for one, unless we can get a powerful CF bat. I mean, that’s really our weakest spot, right now other than Catcher. I don’t want to get rid of Wong, and Peralta is doing well on the defensive side of the game this year. CF is really the only place I’d take an impact bat, and I don’t know if there are that many out there

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

What do you mean? Jay has been doing a great job in CF. Sure he doesn’t have much power, but you don’t need it everywhere. RF is where the problem is, yet it’s also not likely that you’d push both Craig and Taveras to the bench for the rest of the season. If he doesn’t pick it up soon, I expect to see Craig get benched against all right handed pitchers (and maybe even some lefties) and give Taveras a real shot at the job.

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

What do you mean? Jay has been doing a great job in CF. Sure he doesn’t have much power, but you don’t need it everywhere. RF is where the problem is, yet it’s also not likely that you’d push both Craig and Taveras to the bench for the rest of the season. If he doesn’t pick it up soon, I expect to see Craig get benched against all right handed pitchers (and maybe even some lefties) and give Taveras a real shot at the job.

stl_cards16
1 year 1 month ago

Pretty meh move. But better than watching Taveras and/or Martinez in a different uniform for the next 7 years.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

You know, I love Martinez, but I think he has a bit of an attitude problem. It seems like he’s hard to coach. That could just be me though. I’d be okay seeing him in another uniform, but Taveras I wouldn’t be. I bet this is just a precusor to another trade. With a starter, probbaly Miller, on his way out.

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

I think those guys are a little more than overrated at this point after giving both of them a solid shot at proving they’re ML ready.

It’s honestly best to trade them now before any more ML time shows that they may be career AAA superstars but duds at the major league level. I’d be totally willing to be wrong about that after what I’ve seen so far and max returns rather than cling to hopes and dreams.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Could be like Mike Hessman from the Tiger. Stud in AAA, awful in the majors.

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

Not stoked, but not mad. I dunno. I guess this says that the price for Price (ugh) was way too high to deal with?

That or they’ve got a pretty solid lead on a top notch bat to make the offense not terrible, I dunno.

mike
1 year 1 month ago

What if this is a trade chip for Hamels. Taveras, Shelbey Miller and Masterson for Hamels? That could work.

Jeff Miller
1 year 1 month ago

Why would the Phillies want Masterson when he’s a FA in 2 months and can’t be given a QO?

mike
1 year 1 month ago

Good point but its a buy low and hope he turns it around.

MB923
1 year 1 month ago

Doubt it. What would be the point of getting Masterson when they could have just given up Ramsey to Philly? And I also don’t see why Philly would want Masterson.

mike
1 year 1 month ago

This move just doesn’t make sense for the cards needs.

Mochi
1 year 1 month ago

why would the Phis want a guy who will become a free agent?

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Besides, it would still make the Cards short on their rotation. Add Masterson, you’ve got the 5 man rotation, take him and miller out for Hamels, you’ve got a 4 man rotation again until Wacha comes back which means more starts by Martinez or a AAA guy

mike
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe they picked him up as a 5th starter and still get Hamels and move miller.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

That’s what I’m thinking. Miller has been good, but he walks way too many. Or, maybe they get rid of Martinez and keep Miller but put him in the pen for the rest of the year. Lynn pitched really well out of the pen a few years back. I just hope this isn’t their only move.

mike
1 year 1 month ago

That makes sense. I can still see a Taveras, miller/Martinez for Hamels. They didn’t give up anything for Masterson.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Ramsey is going to be a good player, but he was blocked in the majors at the OF spots, so maybe him going to Cleveland can help him get to the majors quicker.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Ramsey is going to be a good player, but he was blocked in the majors at the OF spots, so maybe him going to Cleveland can help him get to the majors quicker.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

The Cards didn’t want to get someone unless they committed long term. Does Masterson commit long term to the Cards after this season?

Travis2014
1 year 1 month ago

Probably should start pitching good first before they even think about that.

Lanidrac
1 year 1 month ago

Why would the Cardinals need a long-term commitment? They’ve already got everybody else coming back next year. (Wainwright, Lynn, Wacha, Miller, Kelly, Martinez, plus whatever they can get out of Garcia before he inevitably gets hurt again)