While John Mozeliak was busy blowing smoke around all the reporters, myself included, that thought he was chasing the likes of Jon Lester, David Price or Cole Hamels, he was quietly working out a deal with the Indians for starter Justin Masterson.
According to Peter Gammons, Masterson will be headed to the Cards and will likely make his debut on Saturday. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report that James Ramsey would be the player headed to the Indians.
After a stellar 2013 season, in which he went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA for the Indians, Masterson has struggled this year, posting a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts. However, per Steve Adams of mlbtraderumors.com, Masterson's former pitching coach, Mickey Callaway attributes his struggles to a knee injury which may have caused him to change his mechanics.
In any case, the Cardinals are hoping that he is now healthy and will return to form.
As for the Indians, they are getting one of the Cardinals better outfield prospects in Ramsey. A first round pick in 2012, Baseball America ranked him as the Cards # 8 prospect heading into the season. He has put up excellent numbers at AA Springfield, with a .300/.389/.527 with 13 homers.
Despite the acquisition of Masterson, the Cards could still go after Jon Lester, per Jon Paul Morosi. However, such a deal would likely cost them Shelby Miller, per Morosi.
Overall, I like the Masterson acquisition. It is a classic low risk/high upside kind of move. Losing Ramsey hurts, as I considered him the Cards center fielder of the future, but hopefully the team can turn Masterson around and convince him to stay long-term.
As for a deal involving Miller for Lester--yes, please, as long as it doesn't require 3 other prospects on top of it.