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Winter Meetings 2013: Justin Masterson trade possible for Indians

Cleveland could look to move the righty starter this winter.

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

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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