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Jul 1, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson (63) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

How does Justin Masterson project for the Cardinals?

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The Cleveland Indians traded their de-facto ace to the St Louis Cardinals in exchange for James Ramsey, who was the 23rd pick in the 2012 draft.

The Indians were just trying to get something for the disappointing Masterson (4-6, 5.51 ERA) before his contract expires at the end of the season.

The Cardinals were linked to Jon Lester and David Price, but the high tag on both of them likely prompted the Cardinals to settle for plan B.

The 29 year old Masterson had one of the best seasons of his six year career last season in Cleveland.  He went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.  He also racked up 195 strikeouts in 193 innings pitched.

The strikeouts are still there this year.  He has 93 in 98 innings pitched, and he likely has been the victim of some bad luck. 

Now he will join the Cardinals, who have revitalized the careers of many a hurler in recent seasons.  Will Masterson be the next to join that club?

He has a good chance.  A move to the National League will likely help Masterson.  That alone makes him worth targeting in trades, or picking up outright. His first start with his new team will come in Saturday against the Brewers. That’s a good place for a spot start.

Masterson is still owned in just 22 percent of ESPN leagues, and I would even recommend picking him up in standard leagues if you need strikeout help. 

I would expect his ERA to be in the mid 3′s in St Louis, and I would look for him to continue to strike out nearly a batter an inning.  That is more production than most waiver wire products can get you. 

As for Ramsey, he likely will not see the majors until September at the earliest.  The 24 year old is hitting .300 with 13 homers and 36 RBI at AA Springfield.

Most of his time was spent in right and center field, so he was blocked in the St Louis outfield anyway.  The Cardinals didn’t have to give up a top prospect in their system, and the got a guy who was a staff ace last year.  This is a trade that could help both teams.

 

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Tags: Cleveland Indians James Ramsey Justin Masterson St. Louis Cardinals

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