Justin Masterson Rumors
Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that Carlos Santana has fully recovered from last year’s knee injury and shouldn't face any limitations this season. He sure looked good when he dove to start a triple play over the weekend. Here are some highlights from Antonetti’s conversation with Speier:
- The Indians expect Justin Masterson to build on last year’s success and become a reliable major league starter.
- Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price, the prospects Cleveland acquired in the Victor Martinez deal “have a chance to contribute to [the Indians’] major league pitching staff in the near future,” Antonetti said.
- Dealing Martinez wasn’t easy, but Antonetti knows difficult trades are part of the game. “Nearly every team faces the reality that it can’t retain every player it values,” he said. “Inevitably some players will leave via free agency and some players will be traded prior to reaching that point.
- Antonetti says the Indians are on their way to becoming a championship caliber club. “The timing of our success will largely depend upon how quickly this group transitions from a collection of young players with potential to a championship caliber team that consistently produces at the Major League level,” Antonetti said.
Paul Hoynes and Terry Pluto at the Cleveland Plain Dealer have the latest on the Tribe....
- In a mailbag, Hoynes explains that the Indians likely didn't consider bringing back Manny Ramirez because they preferred to add a player who could handle the outfield - like Austin Kearns.
- Within the same article, Hoynes says that the Red Sox have approached the Indians multiple times about the possibility of re-acquiring Justin Masterson. The Indians aren't likely to move the right-hander, but Hoynes points out they'd be "silly not to listen."
- Hoynes also adds that he still thinks Jeremy Bonderman could become an Indian, on a minor league deal. However, he doesn't see the team signing Kevin Millwood unless the veteran's asking price goes down.
- In a separate piece, Fausto Carmona tells Hoynes that he's happy in Cleveland and unfazed by trade rumors involving him: "I never read the newspaper in the Dominican Republic. I can't control the situation. A lot of people see something on the Internet and call me and say do you know about this trade? I just tell them I'm ready to play, no matter what the situation."
- Pluto says he's come around on the Orlando Cabrera signing after finding out it was only for $1MM. He notes that, if Cabrera plays well, the Tribe could turn him into a midseason trade chip as they did with Russell Branyan last year.
Spring Training hasn't begun yet, but ESPN.com's Buster Olney gets a head start on the summer's trade rumors by listing some pitchers who could be available this July. James Shields, Joe Blanton and Edwin Jackson are possible trade candidates, but as Olney points out, it's entirely possible that those starters won't be available and others will be on the block. Here are the details:
- The perception around the league is that the Pirates have been willing to talk about trading Paul Maholm. The left-hander is likely a year away from free agency, so the Pirates could shop him if they aren't interested in keeping him. Maholm earns $5.75MM this year and after the season the Pirates can exercise a $9.75MM buyout for 2012 or pay a $750K buyout.
- Fausto Carmona is "going to draw a lot of interest," but the Indians would ask for top prospects in exchange for Carmona who is young (27) and signed to a team-friendly contract.
- Justin Masterson will "continue to draw interest because of his past success and his versatility," Olney writes.
- Olney guesses that Mets GM Sandy Alderson would prefer not to talk to the Wilpons about their financial situation. By avoiding those conversations, Alderson can focus on baseball and avoid being drawn into a legal case.
After a morning of headlines involving Zack Greinke, let's not forget that there are still plenty of trade targets and free agents remaining on the market. Nick Cafardo has the latest updates on a few of them in his newest piece for the Boston Globe....
- The Red Sox have been listening to offers for Jonathan Papelbon. When the team made a three-year, $51MM offer to Mariano Rivera, the assumption was that, on the off chance Rivera accepted, Papelbon wouldn't be back next season.
- Even if Papelbon remains a Red Sox through 2011, there's an understanding that he'll explore the free agent market. Boston only expects to re-sign him if he agrees to a team-friendly deal like those signed by Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jon Lester.
- The article names the Rangers and Angels as a couple teams who could have interest in trading for Papelbon, though it appears to be mostly speculation on Cafardo's part.
- While the Rangers and Halos also appear to be the two leading suitors for Adrian Beltre, Cafardo wonders if a mystery team could be involved, given the silence surrounding the third baseman lately. As we learned during the Cliff Lee derby, you can never entirely rule out those ever-looming mystery teams.
- Cafardo writes that Carl Pavano likely won't sign until at least later this week, unless a team ponies up and makes him an offer in the ballpark of $36MM over three years. Of course, at the time Cafardo's column was published, the Brewers' acquisition of Greinke wasn't confirmed. With Greinke off the table, teams who missed out on the Royals' ace may feel a greater sense of urgency to get something done with Pavano. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests that a reunion with the Twins appears likely for Pavano, following the Greinke trade.
- The Red Sox have tried to re-acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians, but have been denied so far.
- Gabe Kapler would like to keep playing, and is "waiting for the right situation."
1:16pm: The Red Sox liked Matt Guerrier well enough to offer him a two-year deal, but the Dodgers offered a third guaranteed year and the right-hander has agreed to play for Los Angeles. The Red Sox will have to move on to other targets as they look to round out their 'pen. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details on what he says is the biggest challenge of the offseason for GM Theo Epstein.
Two former Twins, right-hander Jesse Crain and left-hander Brian Fuentes are the team’s priorities now. The Red Sox are also considering trades and would “love” to reacquire Justin Masterson, according to Cafardo. The Indians have been reluctant to part with Masterson, whom they acquired in the 2009 Victor Martinez trade.
There are a number of alternatives for Epstein to pursue, including Indians relievers Joe Smith and Rafael Perez, who “could be on Boston’s radar.” The A’s are likely willing to listen on their relievers and the Mariners would listen on David Aardsma, Cafardo writes.
The Red Sox tried to reacquire Justin Masterson before the July 31st trade deadline, according to the MLB Network's Peter Gammons on Twitter. The Indians, who obtained Masterson from Boston in the 2009 Victor Martinez deal, told the Red Sox 'no thanks.' Last night, Masterson pitched five strong innings and beat his former teammates, who are now 6.5 games out of a playoff spot.
For the season, Masterson has a 5.40 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. With those numbers, Masterson could start for many teams (Masterson's numbers are eerily similar to those of Edwin Jackson). Still, it's likely that the Red Sox, who have a full stable of starters, had interest in bringing Masterson back as a reliever and spot starter. The 25-year-old has a clearly-defined role in Cleveland's rotation and he seems to enjoy the stability.
"It’s a good spot to be in," Masterson told MLBTR over the weekend. "It has given me a great opportunity to be a starter and hopefully be one of the integral parts here."
The sides didn't necessarily come close to a deal, even if Masterson's name came up in conversation. Cleveland controls his rights through 2014 and Masterson figures to be a part of the team's rotation for a while, so it's no surprise that the Indians weren't motivated to move him.
We've seen a flurry of trades after months of anticipation. Now, players join new clubs in different cities.
But before McDonald worked his way into baseball’s history books, he faced the reality of joining the Detroit Tigers. And back in 2005, playing baseball was the easy part.
“99% of the time it’s a place where it’s like ‘hey I’m at the ballpark, give me my glove, let’s take some grounders, take some [batting practice], even though I’m wearing a different uniform,” McDonald said. “But that other 1% is thinking ‘all right, how much of a burden did I just put on other people in my life?’”
At the time, McDonald’s family had lived in Toronto for about four months and was just becoming accustomed to the city. As soon as the Blue Jays traded McDonald, his wife had to pack the couple’s belongings in Toronto and drive them to Detroit so McDonald would have things to wear on an upcoming road trip. She then returned to Toronto to pick up more boxes and McDonald was playing baseball, so he couldn’t help out.
You might think that rumblings about potential trades made the process difficult for McDonald, but they were the least of his worries five years ago.
“There were no rumors then, I mean there was no website, like [MLB Trade Rumors], but there was a lot of times a guy had an idea,” he said. “I had no idea so the hardest part about it was for your families.”
The Tigers acquired McDonald, already an established big leaguer, before the 2005 trade deadline. Eventually, the Tigers sent none other than John McDonald to Toronto to complete the trade. Like Harry Chiti four decades before him, McDonald was traded for himself.
McDonald jokes that it’s not much better than being traded for a bag of balls, but notes that the Blue Jays definitely got a fair return. More often than not, though, veterans are traded for minor leaguers or major leaguers without much experience.
That’s what happened to Justin Masterson a year ago, when the Indians acquired him in the Victor Martinez deal. Unlike McDonald, Masterson was traded for a big-name player, and he says it’s kind of cool to be part of a trade involving a star.
“Yeah, it makes you feel better than being traded for someone you don’t even know,” Masterson said. “I think there’s something cool to it. Your first time traded is always an interesting experience.”
“Words can’t really describe it,” Masterson said. “There’s no way to tell someone who has never gone through it what it really feels like. There’s a lot of things in life that take place like that, that you can’t really put a word to describe exactly the way it feels.”
He can’t find the rights words to explain what it’s like to be dealt, but he’s sure of one thing. The Indians were welcoming, so joining the team wasn’t hard.
“These days, everyone knows someone,” Masterson said. “You know someone somewhere through some sort of connection, so it makes it a little easier to get connected.”
Still, the adjustment process continues long after the rumors stop. But that doesn’t mean all players dislike the trade deadline drama. McDonald, for one, doesn't mind it.
“No, because it’s fun,” he said. “You don’t get to play [pro baseball] for very long. You need to embrace all parts of [being an MLB player].”
5:29pm: ESPN's Peter Gammons echoes Heyman's report, and adds that Josh Reddick is the positional prospect that would have gone to Toronto.
MONDAY, 3:01pm: So what did the Red Sox actually offer for Halladay? SI's Jon Heyman heard Buchholz, Masterson, Bowden, Hagadone, and a positional prospect. Should Ricciardi have pulled the trigger on this 5-for-1 blockbuster?
SUNDAY, 1:12pm: Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports that Epstein has denied the rumors. When asked if there was any truth to the rumored offer for Halladay, Epstein responded with a simple "Nope."
10:14am: Last month, Theo Epstein said Boston aggressively pursued Roy Halladay at the deadline and that their final offer was "probably the best offer [J.P. Ricciardi] received." According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, that may have been a 6-for-1 offer of Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, and Nick Hagadone.
One National League scout is quoted having "zero idea why they didn't take the Boston offer." Elliott cites a Toronto scout who says the Jays didn't take the offer for two reasons: 1) They weren't confident Masterson would succeed as a starter, and 2) they were afraid of Halladay beating them in 2010.
The same scout is quoted, "We don't have a quality arm like Halladay," said the scout, "but I've seen four of those (Red Sox) arms and they're quality. Hit on three of six and you'd be fertile for a long time."
What do you think? Does this seem uncharacteristic of Theo Epstein?
Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Red Sox are "thought to have offered a five-prospect package of [Clay] Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and a position player" for Roy Halladay. The club apparently offered the Mariners an even better deal for Felix Hernandez. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- The Brewers offered nothing more than salary relief for Doug Davis, so the D'Backs held on.
- There's a decent chance the Blue Jays will find a new GM. As one exec points out, no one gets to rebuild twice without making the playoffs.
- The Rangers gave up on Vicente Padilla because they consider him a bad teammate.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up. Let's dive in...
- Whatever the Blue Jays do with Alex Rios will tell us everything we need to know about the team's financial state and their opinion of Rios. Toronto could shed more than $60MM in obligation by letting the claiming team have him.
- Some executives believe Rios still has some trade value, and if the Jays wait until the offseason they'd be able to negotiate with all 29 other clubs. The problem is that the free agent market will again be flooded with outfielders.
- Free agent southpaw Mark Mulder could be throwing for teams within 7-10 days. Mulder is working with Rick Peterson, his former pitching coach, in New Jersey this weekend, The pair recently corrected a "minor mechanical flaw," and Peterson told Mulder's agent Greg Clifton that he was shocked the pitcher was in such good shape.
- Teams are looking at Mulder for September, with the Yankees, Brewers, Dodgers and Rangers are among the cubs that have expressed interest. Just as a reminder, if Mulder joins a big league team after August 31st, he would be ineligible for the playoff roster.
- Forget about all that talk from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. about going with a six-man rotation, Jamie Moyer will "almost certainly" head to the bullpen once Pedro Martinez is ready. The team just hasn't figured out how to break the news yet.
- Justin Masterson was throwing 93-97 in his first appearance with Cleveland, causing some club officials to wonder if he should be a closer down the line. Short term, the Indians need him in the rotation and he has the everything needed to become a third or fourth starter.