Moving to fortify a rotation that has been hit with injuries, the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday traded for Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson.
The trade, first reported by Peter Gammons of the MLB Network, will cost the Cardinals highly regarded prospect James Ramsey.
Masterson, 29, was the Indians' Opening Day starter. However, he hasn't pitched since July 7 because of a knee injury. He will be activated from the disabled list at 6:15 p.m. Saturday when the Cardinals play host to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Masterson made rehab starts July 20 and Friday for Class AAA Columbus, permitting seven runs (earned) on nine hits in 11 2/3 innings. He walked eight and struck out 10.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Masterson, a native of Jamaica, is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts with the Indians. Control issues have plagued him; he's walked 56, hit 11 and thrown nine wild pitches in 98 innings.
Masterson, who throws a sinker, slider and changeup in additon to his four-seam fastball, has yielded 106 hits, although he does have 93 strikeouts.
Masterson is 57-68 with a 4.16 ERA in his career, including two seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He enjoyed his best season in 2013, going 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 32 games, including 29 starts.
Masterson, who will be a free agent in the offseason, is earning $9.7625 million this year.
Ramsey, 24, was a first-round draft pick in 2012 (23rd overall). The left-handed-hitting outfielder was batting .300 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 36 RBIs in 67 games at Class AA Springfield.
Ramsey, drafted from Florida State, was the eighth-best prospect in the Cardinals' system entering the season, according to Baseball America.
The Cardinals are without starting pitchers Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha. Garcia is out for the season as he recovers from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, while Wacha likely won't pitch until September as he struggles to overcome a stress reaction in his right shoulder.
Wacha was moved to the 60-day disabled list Wednesday, and the Cardinals will make another roster move before Masterson joins the team Friday in St. Louis. The move of Wacha to the 60-man DL does not represent a setback in his recovery; it merely cleared space for Masterson to be placed on the 40-man roster.
The Cardinals had been linked to several other pitchers in the week leading up to the nonwaiver trade deadline at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Most notably, St. Louis was rumored to be interested in Tampa Bay left-hander David Price, but the Rays have won 11 of 13 to surge back into contention for an American League playoff spot.
The Cardinals also were interested in Boston left-hander Jon Lester, one of the most coveted pitchers to be made available.
But pending another move, it's clear the Cardinals are hesitant to meet the asking prices of teams with pitchers that have a better track record than Masterson. Outfielder Oscar Taveras, pitcher Carlos Martinez and outfielder Stephen Piscotty were sure to be among the Cardinals' prospects to interest potential trade partners.