Indians Ready To Move Cabrera, Masterson

TUESDAY: Industry perception is that the Indians are ready to move Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Cabrera makes for an interesting target, because unlike Masterson, he’s enjoying a relatively productive season. Cabrera is hitting .249/.309/.392 as of this writing, and while that’s hardly elite, park- and league-adjusted metrics like OPS+ (99) and wRC+ (98) peg him as just slightly below league average. That, of course, is relative to all hitters around the league, but middle infielders come with a lower offensive standard, making the switch-hitting Cabrera’s production more valuable.

Defensively speaking, Cabrera doesn’t offer much; he’s never posted a positive UZR in a sample of 100+ innings, and Defensive Runs Saved feels that he’s cost Cleveland 28 runs over the past three seasons at short. However, he’s graded out better in his career at second base, albeit in a much smaller sample size (1341 innings compared to 6282 innings at short). Cabrera has about $3.44MM of this season’s $10MM salary remaining, and he is a free agent at season’s end.

MONDAY: Though he won’t be activated from the disabled list until this Friday, the Indians are “very willing” to trade Justin Masterson, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Cleveland’s preference would be to obtain controllable starting pitching in return for their embattled right-hander.

Masterson has struggled for much of the 2014 season, posting a 5.51 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 and a 58.5 percent ground-ball rate. More concerning, perhaps, is the stark decline in his fastball velocity; after averaging 91.6 mph on his heater in 2013 (and 91.9 mph in 2012), Masterson averaged just 89.1 mph before being placed on the disabled list with a knee injury. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said before the All-Star break that he felt Masterson’s knee injury forced him to alter the way he landed coming off his delivery, which got his mechanics out of sync and could have been partially to blame for the velocity issues.

The 29-year-old is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and it seems unlikely that a team would surrender top talent to acquire a two-month rental that has struggled so greatly in 2014. As such (and this is my own speculation), Masterson might be more of an August trade candidate. If he can come back healthy and effective, scouts might be willing to overlook some of his early-season struggles (to an extent).

Masterson is earning $9.7625MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the final time this offseason. Cleveland had interest in extending its now-former ace (Corey Kluber likely holds that distinction now), but even when Masterson himself suggested seemingly below-market two- and three-year deals at $17-18MM annually, the Indians didn’t bite. Of course, at this point, that looks like it could have been a shrewd move on Cleveland’s behalf.

23 Responses to Indians Ready To Move Cabrera, Masterson Leave a Reply

  1. Nathan Walter 11 months ago

    Giants make a move for Masterson and Cabrera… move Vogelsong to the bullpen… I’d be okay with that.

    • Frittoman626 11 months ago

      What do you suppose the Giants can offer them, they have one of the top 5 worst farm systems in baseball. Heck, the talent their #2 prospect was worth was Peavy. Masterson’s value is at an all time low but the Indians could still get better value from another team for both Masterson and Cabrera

      • Nathan Walter 11 months ago

        There might be other teams, but, as Adams pointed out, many teams won’t give up a lot for a 2-month rental on a 5+ ERA pitcher.

      • Overbrook 11 months ago

        Masterson = salary relief transaction. Cabrera = mid level prospect, of which every team is replete.

      • Joe 11 months ago

        I bet the Giants could get both of them for Clayton Blackburn and Gary Brown. Two decent prospects for two below average (at least this season) players. Move Vogey to the bullpen and DFA Petit and Uggla, and this trade works good.

    • Indians223 11 months ago

      I would like to see the Indians target Kyle Crick.

  2. Not really sure what Masterson is worth at this point. An injured soon to be free agent with diminished velocity and terrible numbers is hardly worth his remaining salary.

    • Tko11 11 months ago

      He seems to be following in Josh Beckett’s footsteps by pitching well every other year. So buying low might be wise if they can keep him for next year.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        But hes a FA after the season…. Might as well just wait and try and pick him up in the off-season.

  3. MrSammyG2 . 11 months ago

    Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera to the Mariners for Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, Carson Smith?

  4. Since_77 11 months ago

    You would be trading for damaged goods. He might have to take a one year deal for 2015 to prove that he is healthy.

  5. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    Cleveland’s preference would be to obtain controllable starting pitching in return for their embattled right-hander….. good luck with that.

  6. agureghian 11 months ago

    thats a lot of walks…

  7. cookmeister 11 months ago

    I know the angels said they are done dealing, but would love for them to make this move. Richards and Skaggs have never thrown a full season, and shoemaker had been good but could be pushed to long relief/spot start duty. Wonder what it would take, since the system is already bare.

    • sportsnut969 11 months ago

      They would most likely want a minor league starter with upside coming back like Nate Smith + another piece like Michael Fish for Masterson I believe the indians fully expect to give Masterson the Qualifing Offer if he is not get dealt by the deadline.

  8. Goriax 11 months ago

    Ground ball pitcher that could be had for peanuts…. tempting I am sure for many teams.

  9. DempseyK 11 months ago

    If Masterson’s knee is healthy, I would swing a deal for both he and Asdrubal. If The Indians are willing to eat a little money to ship them over, I would be willing to ship Clay Holmes and Barret Barnes over in return…maybe even 1 more starter slightly under the radar; perhaps Andy Oliver (who could contribute at the big league level this year, or next year if you wear your kids gloves. 2 top 20 guys + a former top 20 guy as of last year, from one of the best minor league systems in baseball should be more than enough to get this deal done. Again though, Tribe will need to eat some salary though to get this type of return.

  10. Sufferfortribe 11 months ago

    Like they say at Nike……….just do it!

  11. Baji Kimran 11 months ago

    Masterson and Cabrera aren’t helping the Indians win, why would they be an improvement somewhere else?

    • Frittoman626 11 months ago

      Because teams like the Yankees and Giants are trotting guys like Uggla and Brian Roberts to play 2nd base. Cabrera would be an improvement over both.

      • Joe 11 months ago

        As a Giants fan, I can easily say that I would take Asdrubal Cabrera, even if we had to pay him 20 million a season, over Dan Uggla making the minimum.

    • norah 11 months ago

      Because another team might just need one more player to make it, especially if that person is doing well, like Asdrubal. It might be a team that’s in the race now, but needs a shortstop that can hit better than the one they’re running out there now.

  12. Baji Kimran 11 months ago

    Masterson and Cabrera aren’t helping the Indians win, why would they be an improvement somewhere else?

Leave a Reply