CLEVELAND — Justin Masterson began the season as the Indians’ ace. He’ll end it with a different team in a different league.
The Indians traded the disappointing Masterson on Wednesday to the St. Louis Cardinals, a deal that will allow Cleveland to get something in return for the righthander who was in his final year under contract.
In exchange for Masterson, who was scheduled to come off the disabled list later this week, the Indians got outfielder James Ramsey. A first-round pick by the Cardinals (No. 23 overall) in 2012, Ramsey has spent this season at Double-A Springfield, where he batted .300 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs.
Masterson has underperformed this season. He started Cleveland’s opener but failed to live up to expectations following a 14-10 season and after he turned down a contract extension from the club during spring training.
Masterson is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts this season and has had a noticeable loss in velocity. In five starts before being placed on the DL with right knee inflammation, he allowed 19 runs and 27 hits in 18 innings.
Masterson was acquired by the Indians at the trading deadline in 2009 in the deal that sent catcher Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox. Before Tuesday’s series opener against Seattle, Masterson said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Indians made any moves but he was hoping to stay and help them make a playoff push.
The trade of Masterson could be followed by other moves by the Indians, who entered Wednesday 6 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central and in a scramble with five other teams for the league’s second wild-card spot.
Masterson went 48-61 with Cleveland.