As MLB Network’s Peter Gammons first reported on Wednesday and Ken Rosenthal later confirmed, the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired starting pitcher Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians for minor-league outfielder and 2012 first-round pick James Ramsey.
The trade probably comes as a disappointment for many Cardinals fans, who were fueled by the rumors about the Cardinals ending up with a superstar starter like Cole Hamels, Jon Lester, or David Price, but are now left with Masterson, who is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA on the year. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound native of Jamaica had a great first half in 2013 and made the All-Star team, but in general his numbers have represented those of a fifth starter.
Over seven years split between the Indians and the Boston Red Sox, Masterson has a career 57-69 record with a 4.16 ERA, a 1.383 WHIP, and an average of 7.5 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine innings. He is a free agent after this season, and will likely be expecting a payment close to or above the $9.7625 million that he’s making this year.
Ramsey, meanwhile, was an intriguing prospect but was buried down the Cardinals’ loaded depth chart of outfielders. Over 67 games at Double-A Springfield this year, Ramsey was hitting .300/.389/.527 with 13 homers and 36 RBI. The 24-year-old was viewed by many as the Cardinals’ center fielder of the future, but now that distinction seems to go to Randal Grichuk, who went just 6-for-44 in brief big-league action earlier this season.
Masterson, who has been out of action since July 7 with right knee inflammation, was scheduled to come off the disabled list on Friday and start for Cleveland. He’ll now likely pitch for the Cardinals on Saturday, when the team has an opening in the rotation.