The Indians, who are two games under .500 and just five games behind in the American League Wild Card chase, traded Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday. In exchange, the Indians get minor league outfielder James Ramsey.
The Cardinals are just two games out of the lead for the AL Central behind Milwaukee and tied with Pittsburgh. Masterson will return this Saturday against the Brewers.
Masterson (knee) has been on the 15-day disabled list for most of July, but even before that, he lost some of the magic he had corralled last season, when he went 14-10 with three shutouts.
The 29-year-old right-hander has had a rough season so far in 2013, with a 5.51 ERA in 98 innings, but he is in a contract season. That forced Cleveland’s hand, as they appear to look to the future now, rather than the 2014 postseason.
From a fantasy perspective, teams in AL-only formats lose a pitcher to the National League. Once Masterson is healthy, he’ll be worth using — even in mixed leagues — considering his 3.14 ERA against NL teams in his career.
Ramsey was a first-round draft pick out of FSU in 2012, and he is hitting .300 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI at Double-A Springfield this season. Overall, he’s batting .266 in 235 minor league games so far.