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Friday, December 2, 2022

Cardinals Trade For Justin Masterson

The St. Louis Cardinals have traded for Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson, according to Peter Gammons.

Joel Sherman reports that outfielder James Ramsey could be going back to the Indians in the deal.

The important thing here is how this impacts the trade market in the NL Central. The Cardinals were looking at David Price and Jon Lester. Does this mean they’re out of that race? Or are they looking for multiple rotation pieces? I’d imagine we’ll get the answer to that question after the Masterson deal is announced. If this does take St. Louis out of the mix for Lester, then it might help the Pirates’ chances of acquiring him without giving up an unreasonable haul in prospects.

Masterson has struggled this year, with a 5.51 ERA, although his 4.05 xFIP suggests he should do better than what he’s done so far. He’s been great in previous years, and if he can do a 180 with the Cardinals, this would be a great pickup. Of course, if he continues to struggle, then it’s a move that won’t help them much.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN had this interesting string of tweets earlier today about the Cardinals and their willingness to deal prospects.

And an update…

It seems that the Pirates aren’t the only team hesitant to part with top prospects for rentals.

UPDATE 2:26 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that it’s Masterson for Ramsey.

To get an idea of a Pirates’ comparable, Ramsey was rated by Baseball America as a 50, with medium risk. That was the pre-season rank, so things could have changed. The Pirates didn’t have any 50 Mediums, so I’d say the closest fit would be a 55 High. That would be someone like Harold Ramirez. Josh Bell had that rating pre-season, but he’s clearly moved beyond that now.

UPDATE 2:41 PM: Jon Morosi says that the trade doesn’t necessarily take the Cardinals out of the race for Lester.

He also adds that they might have to give up Shelby Miller to get Lester.

I still think, based on the Crasnick tweets, that the Cardinals won’t deal for Lester.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Masterson was a good buy-low option by the Cards.


Great move by the Cards, as always. Masterson has been victimized by horrid defense and is a much, much better pitcher than his base numbers show. With this K and ground-ball rate this year and at this price, he would have been a great acquisition for the Pirates.


His walk rate tells a different story.


awe man it’s not as much bad that they got Masterson as it is bad that he likely knocks shelby miller out of the rotation


Maybe, but it might be Martinez going back to the pen as he’s projecting way more innings than what he’s handled recently. Which makes their pen better.

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