The Winter Meetings are underway, and the Indians have already addressed another bench-bat acquisition by signing former Blue Jays first-round pick, David Cooper. And now they turn their attention to a much bigger name.
The Indians want Justin Masterson to stick around and they have begun talks with his representation.
But the Indians also know that pitching usually comes with a hefty price tag (look at what the Twins doled out for middling-at-best Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes!), so they are also looking to the worst-case scenario of trading the popular and affable sinkerballer.
With Scott Kazmir already a fond memory, and Ubaldo Jimenez likely pricing himself out of town, keeping Masterson would appear to be a top priority. Having a rotation with Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar is rife with potential, but without Masterson it would leave too many holes and too much pressure on a young staff that isn’t ready to to take the reins.
Basically, the big guy is almost indispensable to the team at this point and could–maybe would–undo the great strides the Indians have made this season. It would have to be an offer that the Indians would be crazy not to take. But this also points to a larger point of Masterson likely being more important to the Indians than he would be to the other teams they who would come calling. He’s not at the pure “ace” level of a pitcher, so the Indians wouldn’t pull in the kind of trade that would make it an easy pill to swallow.
In my opinion, I think an extension will be reached. That might just be the homer in me, but I don’t think the Indians want to imagine life without Justin unless they get the incredible offer that blows them away. With that likely being nothing more than a dream, the Indians will try to do whatever they can to keep him around.