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Cardinals trade James Ramsey for Justin Masterson

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Sources indicated the Cardinals have traded AA outfielder James Ramsey for Cleveland pitcher Justin Masterson.

Jason Miller

Remember how the Cardinals were interested in David Price? Then Cliff Lee? Then Jake Peavy? Then Jon Lester? Then Cole Hamels? All pretty big names and probably going to command a decent haul in return (whether they are worth it or not).

So naturally, the Cardinals chose none of these pitchers. According to a Peter Gammons tweet, the Indians are trading Justin Masterson to the Cardinals.

The 29 year old is set to earn $9.8 million this year (details on that part of the deal when they become available) and is due to become a free agent at the end of the season. He currently boasts a 4-6 record with a  5.51 ERA in 98 innings this season. Looking more thoroughly into his pitching profile shows a 4.08 FIP,  a FIP- of 108, ground ball rate of 58.5%, and a walk rate of 12.4%. He also has a .275 average against and if SIERA is your thing, his sits at 4.06.

While that doesn't sound too great, there is something interesting. Masterson's strikeout rate this year currently sits at 20.6% and his BABIP against is .350 to go with a LOB of 65%. Add a HR/FB rate of 10%, and there is quite a bit of bad luck in there.

But there is another wrinkle. Masterson has missed time this year due to a bum right knee that was previously thought to be behind his not-so-peachy results. The Indians have since come out and said the he is healthy and that he is fighting control problems. Shortly after that article, Masterson hit the 15 Day DL, but is set to come off the day after the trade deadline, August 1. If the Cardinals were able to fix a mechanical flaw to aid in Masterson gaining control, well... that would be dandy. UPDATE: Oh, well would you look at that?

Masterson throws about four different pitches. The sinker is his most used pitch, as he throws it about 44% of the time, closely followed by his fourseamer at 33% and a slider at 21%. He will sometimes throw a changeup, just for funsies, but that makes up only 1% of his pitching profile. His velocity will touch 93 mph, and as most sinkerballers do, he lives low in the zone.

That being said, the Cardinals didn't get Masterson for nothing. Reports are el Birdos gave 24 year old James Ramsey in return. Garnering (possibly unfair) comps to Skip Schumaker around the VEB community, Ramsey's AA line this year was decent at .300/.389/.527, especially for a player who presumably can play center field. Ramsey has always been considered old for his league, and while that does not diminish his production this year, it does show that the Cardinals were maybe just not that sold on the guy. Still, Ramsey has the potential to be a solid major league player.

All in all, it looks the Cardinals have got a solid mid-to-back-end-rotation starter with recent injury history. It definitely isn't the blockbuster deal everyone was expecting, but could still make an impact down the stretch.

UPDATE: Per Goold: Michael Wacha :( has been moved to the 60 Day DL to clear roster space, retroactive to June 18.