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Update: Wednesday, December 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Even though there were no legs to the Masterson-Yankees rumors, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports the Indians' right-hander is "very much available" in a trade.
Considering the cost is high, and Masterson only has one year of arbitration left before hitting free agency, it's difficult to envision a scenario where a team matches what the Indians are looking for.
If the Indians struggle in the first half of 2014, don't be surprised if Masterson is dealt because this franchise needs to replenish its stockpile of young arms somehow. But for now, coming off a playoff appearance in 2013, it doesn't make sense to sell their best pitcher.
--End of Update--
Update: Wednesday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET
It turns out the rumors of the Yankees wanting Justin Masterson will not lead to anything, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
You can't blame the Yankees for liking Masterson more than the free-agent starters available. He's going to be cheaper in 2014 than Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or Matt Garza, but the big right-hander is just one year away from free agency.
The Indians need young, cost-controlled, MLB-ready pitching in return, which is something the Yankees can't offer because they don't have any.
Back to the drawing board for Brian Cashman and company.
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Update: Wednesday, December 11 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Diamondbacks could get in on discussions for Masterson after acquiring Mark Trumbo to bolster their offense on Tuesday.
The Indians would certainly look for controllable, MLB-ready pitching if they were to trade Masterson, which is why this doesn't seem to be a great fit.
Arizona just traded Tyler Skaggs in the Trumbo deal. Archie Bradley isn't going anywhere, nor is 2013 first-round pick Braden Shipley. Unless the Diamondbacks plan on including someone already in their rotation (Wade Miley, Randall Delgado) and throw in other pieces, the two sides don't match.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports Masterson is on the Yankees' radar, but would likely have to include another team because their assets don't match up with Cleveland's needs.
There is level of vagueness in this report. I'm sure the Yankees would like to grab Masterson, but it takes two to tango. The Indians aren't going to hand over their best starting pitcher just because New York wants him.
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With the Cleveland Indians losing Scott Kazmir to the Oakland Athletics, presumably losing Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency and having to fill bullpen spots vacated by the departures of Joe Smith and Chris Perez, trading pitching wouldn't seem to make sense.
Then again, a lot of what you hear at the winter meetings doesn't make sense. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Indians are listening for offers on right-handed starter Justin Masterson.
Masterson has been a source of stability for the Tribe's rotation, having thrown at least 193 innings every season since 2011 and posting a career high 195 strikeouts in 193 innings last year.
Unfortunately, the Indians know Masterson's clock is ticking. He's one year away from free agency, and his value will likely never be higher than it is right now, so it makes sense for the front office to examine all possibilities.
Another move that makes a lot of sense for the Indians is a trade of Asdrubal Cabrera. He's entering the final year of his contract, coming off a bad season in 2013 and making $10 million.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports the Indians are "open" to trading Cabrera.
It's no secret star shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor is almost ready for the big leagues. He may be on the road to Cleveland by midseason, but unless the Indians can find a taker for Cabrera, Lindor might have to wait longer.