On the most recent edition of “It’s Pronounced Podcast,” I said I would be shocked if the Indians were able to trade Masterson ahead of the deadline, due to his dreadful performance and history of overvaluing himself. The Indians, we all wagered, could not risk extending him a qualifying offer next offseason as there was a good chance he might actually accept the darn thing and put the team on the hook for 14-15 million.
Well, color me shocked, because the Indians unloaded the former All-Star (how long ago does that feel?) to the St. Louis Cardinals for an outfield prospect in James Ramsey.
Who is James Ramsey? He’s a 24 year old outfielder who has spent all of 2014 at the Double A level. He’s played mostly CF, but he has also spent some time in RF as well. He has some power (13 HR this season), but does not appear to be a base stealer (23 career steals since 2012). Given his success at AA this far this year (.300/.389/.527) I would not be surprised to see him in Columbus soon if not immediately.
All in all, this was a great little pickup for a player who was really putting the Indians in a bad position with his performance. At this point, it was unlikely at best that Masterson would return next year, and since I can’t imagine the Indians would have extended him a qualifying offer given his performance this year, this allows the Indians to move on and gain something in return.
I do wonder what this acquisition means for guys like Tyler Naquin and Carlos Moncrief (currently in AA and AAA respectively), as I would view Ramsey as roughly similar to those two players (especially Naquin). Just based on my cursory research, I would probably slot Ramsey a little above both of those guys right now just based on his power numbers, but let’s see how he does in some extended action in the Eastern League or the International League first.
One note: Ramsey is another left-handed hitter, so he does (unfortunately) add to our redundancy in that department. The Indians organizational depth chart for left-handed hitters in the outfield looks something like this: Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Dickerson, David Murphy, Carlos Moncrief, Tyler Naquin, James Ramsey. Sheesh.