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Winter Meetings 2013: Justin Masterson trade possible for Indians

Cleveland could look to move the righty starter this winter.


The Indians are listening in on offers for starting pitcher Justin Masterson with an eye on exploring more cost-controlled options for their rotation, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Masterson is in his final season of arbitration-eligibility with the Indians in 2014. He earned $5.7 million last season and Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projects a salary of $9.7 million for the groundball specialist. Even at that price and  just one year of team control, Masterson could bring back value in trade. The 28-year-old posted a 3.45 ERA over 193 innings in 2013, going 14-10 for Cleveland. During his six-year career with the Indians and Red Sox, he recorded a 4.03 ERA. Since he reached the majors in 2006, only four pitchers have topped 1,000 innings with a higher groundball rate than Masterson. If he maintains that level of performance through 2014, he would be likely be in line to receive a qualifying offer at the end of the 2014 season, adding draft compensation to the appeal for some of the teams considering him.

The Indians finished the 2013 season at 92-70, second in the AL Central and lost the wild card play-in game to the Tampa Bay Rays. This off-season they have lost free agent left-handed starter Scott Kazmir to the Athletics and they could also lose free agent Ubaldo Jimenez from their rotation. While the team has several in-house replacement options in Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, moving Masterson would put pressure on their starting pitcher depth.

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