The live stream proved to be a lot of fun, but the timing was rough – not only did the Cubs reportedly get their PTBNL from the Dodgers, but there was also a relatively significant trade: the Cardinals picked up Justin Masterson from the Indians.
In exchange, the Indians are reportedly getting 24-year-old AA outfield prospect James Ramsey. Before you go too far on his age/level, he was a college draftee, and a first rounder for the Cardinals back in 2012, and a pretty clear top ten prospect for the Cardinals. Given how bad Masterson’s been, this is a pretty nice return for the Indians, and an interesting roll of the dice for the Cardinals.
Speaking of Masterson’s badness, you can see the damage for yourself on his FanGraphs page. Moreover, he’s dealt with injuries and a pretty significant velocity drop (which may or may not be injury-related). It’s just been a bad, bad year for a guy who was, pre-season, expected to be among the class of free agent pitchers we discuss at the top of the market. It had become so bad that it was unclear whether the Indians would even make him a qualifying offer, which is now mooted by the trade (he cannot be made an offer, and will not be tied to draft pick compensation).
If Masterson turns it around with the Cardinals (voodoo magic), will they try to extend him? That remains to be seen. If he reaches the market after the season, there will probably be a great many teams looking at him as a buy-low, rebound candidate (likely Cubs included).
If you were wondering whether Masterson is the kind of acquisition that takes the Cardinals out of the running for another pitcher …
I'm told Masterson acquisition does not necessarily take Cardinals out of the Jon Lester sweepstakes.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 30, 2014
Given that they lost both Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha, that makes sense to me. They didn’t exactly strip the system bare to pick up Masterson, so they’ve got plenty of ammo left. There are also rumors connecting the Cardinals to Cliff Lee, though he can easily be traded in August thanks to his insane contract.
So, do the Pirates now respond? Do the Brewers? Is this the kind of move that forces action? I’m not sure it is. But that doesn’t mean those teams won’t act for other reasons.