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.


Leave a Reply

213 Comments on "Cardinals Acquire Justin Masterson"


Travis2014
1 year 30 days ago

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

robbyb
1 year 30 days ago

He was..

YoungWerther
1 year 30 days ago

two years ago.

Joe Forkner
1 year 30 days ago

Championship!

Erik DC Murray
1 year 30 days ago

lol you silly man u

Matt Talken
1 year 30 days 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 29 days ago

Haha cx

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 30 days ago

I hope this isn’t their big move.

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

Wacha isn’t due back until September

Lanidrac
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

Somebody did something!

vtadave
1 year 30 days ago

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

mike
1 year 30 days ago

This can’t be it.

Pei Kang
1 year 30 days ago

Let’s hope not…

javywoz
1 year 30 days ago

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

1 year 30 days ago

Well this came out of nowhere.

Gumby65
1 year 30 days ago

Pitch counts just went up in St. Louis

Lanidrac
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Lanidrac
1 year 30 days ago

That’s still no worse than Martinez.

Lanidrac
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

Does this trade make the Pirates better?

AB4EYE
1 year 30 days ago

Classic Mo not ever wanting to part with prospects

JacksTigers
1 year 30 days ago

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

CJ Travis
1 year 30 days ago

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

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

CardsFan1980
1 year 30 days ago

I think it is their big move. Was expecting more

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

gnats
1 year 30 days ago

Yep.

cgriffith
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

Uh…what?

Ausome7
1 year 30 days ago

The tigers destroy Masterson

dieharddodgerfan
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Dave
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Jeff Miller
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

MB923
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Mochi
1 year 30 days ago

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

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Mike
1 year 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days 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 30 days ago

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

Lanidrac
1 year 30 days 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)