The great purge of 2009 continues for the Indians, who sent All-Star catcher Victor Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for three more pitchers this afternoon. Right-handers Justin Masterson and Bryan Price and lefty Nick Hagadone join the crowded cluster of prospects acquired by general manager Mark Shapiro for established players. Most importantly to the Indians, their player payroll gets cheaper.
Masterson, 24, was Boston's second-round pick in 2006 out of San Diego State, and has spent the entire 2009 season with the Red Sox. He has a 3-3 record and 4.50 ERA in 31 appearances including six starts.
The 6-6, 250-pound right-hander was a key part of the Red Sox's run to the playoffs a year ago, going 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games including nine starts after being called up from the minors.
Masterson was born in Jamaica, but went to Beavercreek (Ohio) High School near Dayton.
Hagadone, 23, a 6-5, 230-pound left-hander, has pitched sparingly since being drafted No. 55 overall by the Red Sox in 2007 out of the University of Washington.
He missed much of the 2008 season after having Tommy John surgery and has worked only 25 innings this year, going 0-2 with a 2.52 ERA at Class A Greenville.
In 59 1-3 innings as a professional, Hagadone has a 1-4 record, 1.82 ERA and 77 strikeouts.
Price, a 22-year-old right-hander and Boston's first-round selection in 2008 out of Rice University, has struggled in his first two years of pro ball. He has only a 5-11 record and 4.42 ERA in 31 outings including 28 starts since signing with the Red Sox.
Price has split the 2009 season between advanced Class A Salem, where he was 1-6 with a 6.54 ERA in 11 starts, and Greenville, where is compiled a 3-2 record and 2.45 ERA in eight starts.
Martinez, a three-time AL All-Star, is hitting .284 (107-for-377) with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 67 RBI in 99 games this year. The switch-hitter missed much of 2008 after having surgery on his right elbow.
Once again, the Indians got players with some potential, but not the elite prospects such as Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard that the Red Sox should have had to part with for a player the caliber of Martinez.
Shapiro will spin his spiel about how these pitchers give the organization flexibility and potential. What it really gives the franchise is a group of players earning the bare minimum -- and that is of utmost importance.
The franchise is losing money at an alarming rate and as past Indians owners found out, trading away the best players on the ballclub to cut costs also drives fans away from the ticket booth. It is a maddeningly frustrating downward spiral and these trades have sped up the vortex.
How many tickets will Masterson sell?
How long will it take for the Class A prospects to move up through the system?
And how many of them may get hurt along the way and be of little use?
Buckle up, Tribe fans ... it's gonna be a bumpy ride.