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Grading The Deal: Cardinals Get Masterson From Indians

By Andrew Perna

The St. Louis Cardinals, looking to fortify their starting rotation as they battle the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central, have acquired Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians.

Masterson, who will come off the disabled list (knee) later this week, has a 5.51 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 98 innings this season. The Cardinals will send outfield prospect James Ramsey to the Indians in exchange for the 29-year-old right-hander.

The Cardinals were linked to bigger names like Jon Lester and David Price leading up the deal with the Indians. Reports are conflicted as to whether landing Masterson takes St. Louis out of the running for the pair of left-handers.

Masterson, who will be a free agent after the season, discussed a potential contract extension with Cleveland until negotiations broke off early in the spring without a resolution. Masterson, who was an All-Star last season, was believed to be seeking a multiyear deal at more than $15 million annually.

Just a season ago, Masterson went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 195 strikeouts in 193 innings. The Cardinals are hoping his latest stint on the DL has fully rectified his knee issues and will lead to a more productive remainder of the season.

Will Carroll of Bleacher Report tweeted soon after the trade that it wasn’t an indication that St. Louis is worried about Michael Wacha, who they still expect to return this season.

The Cardinals, who entered Wednesday two games back in the NL Central, have the eighth-lowest ERA (3.39) in the Major Leagues. However, they rank in the lower half of baseball in quality starts, which has taxed their bullpen slightly.

Adam Wainwright has been otherworldly and Lance Lynn has been a revelation, but the remainder of the staff is a question mark.

Wacha was great early in the season, but he’s unlikely to return until September. Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, 23 and 22 respectively, have endured growing pains as starters. Jaime Garcia (4.12), Joe Kelly (3.90), Tyler Lyons (5.79) and Marco Gonzales (7.07) have made 20 starts, largely disappointing each time out.

The Masterson that pitched for the Indians in the first half of the season isn’t a much better option than the four pitchers mentioned above, but a healthy and re-energized one would help push the reigning National League champions back to the postseason.

Grade for Cardinals: B-

Cleveland didn’t have a reason to hold onto Masterson. Not only had he struggled, but they are on the outside of the American League playoff race and clearly felt his agent valued the right-hander more than they did.

Grade for Indians: A-

Ramsey was an expendable piece for the Cardinals, who have a series of outfield prospects in the pipeline. A first-round pick in 2012, MLB.com recently ranked him as St. Louis’ No. 6 prospect. Evaluators are concerned about how his power will develop because of a small frame and aggressiveness at the plate.


MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning July 28

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, July 27

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

1. (1) Oakland Athletics – 4.25

It's becoming more and more likely that Oakland will sit in the top spot for the remainder of the season.

2. (3) Washington Nationals – 3.95

A gradual rise has the Nationals, seven wins in 10 games, as the class of the National League.

3. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.91

Los Angeles has the best road record -- 34-23 -- in baseball.

4. (4) Los Angeles Angels – 3.79

With Troy Tulowitzki on the DL, Mike Trout (5.6) will soon lead the Major Leagues in WAR.

5. (5) Detroit Tigers – 3.65

The Tigers, who ranked ninth in ERA in each of the last two seasons, sit 22nd entering the week.

6. (6) Seattle Mariners – 3.63

7. (12) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.56

T8. (7) Atlanta Braves – 3.50

-- (T9) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.50

-- (11) Baltimore Orioles – 3.50

11. (T9) San Francisco Giants – 3.49

12. (8) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.48

13. (T13) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.44

14. (15) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.42

15. (16) Cleveland Indians – 3.35

16. (T13) Cincinnati Reds – 3.31

17. (17) New York Mets – 3.22

18. (18) Boston Red Sox – 3.17

19. (19) Kansas City Royals – 3.15

20. (20) New York Yankees – 3.13

T21. (21) Miami Marlins – 3.07

-- (22) Chicago White Sox – 3.07

23. (23) San Diego Padres – 2.96

24. (24) Chicago Cubs – 2.89

25. (26) Colorado Rockies – 2.88

26. (25) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.76

27. (27) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.67

28. (28) Minnesota Twins – 2.54

29. (29) Houston Astros – 2.44

30. (30) Texas Rangers – 2.13

 

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MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning July 21

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, July 20

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

1. (1) Oakland Athletics – 4.18

The Athletics lead a division with three teams at least six games over .500. Even Seattle would be within two games, in the win column, from first place in any other division.

2. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.94

Yasiel Puig has contributed a team-best 3.4 WAR to the Dodgers in 2014.

3. (3) Washington Nationals – 3.93

Washington has maintained the best ERA (3.10) in baseball despite nothing spectacular from Stephen Strasburg (3.55) and Gio Gonzalez (3.74).

4. (5) Los Angeles Angels – 3.80

The Angels continue to chase the first-place A's. They have the second-best record in the Major Leagues.

5. (4) Detroit Tigers – 3.72

Detroit has been average as of late, but still have more than a five-game edge in the American League Central.

6. (6) Seattle Mariners – 3.61

7. (T8) Atlanta Braves – 3.54

8. (13) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.53

T9. (T11) San Francisco Giants – 3.52

-- (T11) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.52

11. (7) Baltimore Orioles – 3.47

12. (T8) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.44

T13. (10) Cincinnati Reds – 3.43

-- (14) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.43

15. (17) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.34

16. (16) Cleveland Indians – 3.33

17. (15) New York Mets – 3.28

18. (19) Boston Red Sox – 3.21

19. (18) Kansas City Royals – 3.10

20. (21) New York Yankees – 3.08

21. (20) Miami Marlins – 2.98

22. (22) Chicago White Sox – 2.96

23. (24) San Diego Padres – 2.95

24. (23) Chicago Cubs – 2.88

25. (28) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.76

26. (25) Colorado Rockies – 2.75

27. (T26) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.68

28. (T26) Minnesota Twins – 2.62

29. (29) Houston Astros – 2.56

30. (30) Texas Rangers – 2.10

 

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