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.

11 Comments

  • Peter says:

    The Homer ( as in Cleveland, not the Iliad!) in me says another top player ignores the hometown discount and forces the Tribe to trade him. Sorry, skepticism born out of 37 years as a Cleveland fan.

  • Cale says:

    I like the thought as long as they don’t settle for 80 cents on the dollar. Tampa seems to be doing well embracing the strategy. I’d put Masterson and Shields in the same category and if you can get a return like that, you have to do the deal, don’t you? You don’t know if teams will give up a Wil Myers unless you put it out there that you’ll listen to offers.

    • Cale says:

      Plus, the timing couldn’t be better…if the teams thinking about Price are just a bit too tentative to pay the asking price, maybe the Tribe could swoop in and offer Masterson for just a bit less and get a good return still.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    If Hoynsie is correct, Masterson’s asking price sounds reasonable (5/75), and the PR hit from trading another top starting pitcher away would be devastating. The perception would be that the team is cost-cutting at the expense of winning (again) and would lack the pitching to compete. Translate: 16,000 average attendance. And you’re right, other teams would not offer an ace package akin to what David Price will pull.

  • Gvl Steve says:

    Now Cabrera is on the trade block too. That would free up a few bucks. Or maybe it’s time for another FIRE SALE!!!! Just kidding.

  • medfest says:

    You’ve got to listen to offers,you never know when some one will get a wild hair and go nuts……….like KC last season.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    Some earlier rumors had the Yankees being interested in Justin, but it got shot down.

  • Sean Porter says:

    Considering 3/5ths of the Tribe’s starting rotation potentially are years away from free agency (Kluber, McAllister and Salazar), I think 5 years for $75 mill is pretty reasonable for the Indians to handle.

    Right or wrong, trading Masterson would be a public relations nightmare for Dolan and Shaponetti…

  • shaun says:

    he had a decent year in 2013 but truthfully, if a gm somewhere is willing to blow their brains out to get him, why not continue to set ourselves up for the future. i believe in mickey to get the most of whoever is pitching for us.

    • Sean Porter says:

      I’d listen to offers, mind you, but I’m telling you Average Cleveland Fan will riot if he’s traded.

      One of two things needs to happen for attendance to increase to even average standards for the Indians: The Tribe has to win the World Series, or the Dolans need to sell the team to someone who instantly adds payroll, thus changes the perception of the Indians as a glorified minor league team to big-market teams.