Justin Masterson’s Success Justifying Victor Martinez Trade for Indians, With Prospects Also Coming Along

Justin Masterson's Success Justifying Victor Martinez Trade for Indians, With Prospects Also Coming Along Justin Masterson takes the mound for the Indians on Thursday night, and as he does, he'll offer another reminder of what once was for the Red Sox — well, sort of.

Masterson, who worked as a reliever at the time of being traded from Boston is now a member of the Cleveland rotation, has had quite the bounce-back season a year after going 6-13 with a 4.70 ERA.

The wins aren't there for the lanky right-hander, but other than that, the stats paint a pretty impressive picture for the 26-year-old. He's a virtual lock to surpass his career high in innings pitched. Same with strikeouts. His WHIP is the best it's ever been. And his ERA is a half-run better than he's ever posted.

The man who is widely considered one of baseball's good guys continues to murder right-handed batters, holding them to a .214 average this season. He's going to need to do a better job of getting left-handed bats out, but the Tribe has to be impressed with his progression.

As Masteron continues the best year of his young career at Fenway Park on Thursday, it's worth looking back at the deal that sent Masterson and a pair of prospects to Cleveland in exchange for Victor Martinez.

Martinez has since moved on from Boston after signing with Detroit in the offseason, but his time in Boston left an impact.

When Martinez was acquired before the 2009 deadline, the Sox were ready to make a playoff push, and Martinez was considered one of the best players available at the deadline. All he did was hit .339 down the stretch for the Red Sox before making the 2010 All-Star team in his only full season with the club.

Acquiring Martinez was the right move at the time, and in hindsight, you can't argue the fact that the Sox got one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball. He has, however, since moved on, while the Indians continue to reap the benefits of not only having Masterson in the fold, but two other up-and-coming prospects as well.

Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price, the two prospects sent from Boston to Cleveland, continue to develop in the minors.

Hagadone, the tall left-hander who was a first-round pick of the Sox in 2007, has been used by the Indians as a reliever since they acquired him. He's made the jump from Double-A to Triple-A in 2011, and he really hasn't missed a beat. Hagadone boasts an impressive 1.23 WHIP to go along with an average of just a hair under 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Really, it's starting to look like it's just a matter of time before Hagadone is working out of the pen at the big league level for the Tribe.

Meanwhile, Price remains a bit of a wild card. He's certainly not as close as Hagadone, but he continues to plug away at Double-A Akron. He continues to throw strikes though — he's issued just 36 walks in 106 innings over the last two years — and that is something that can't be overlooked. Still, it's safe to assume that Price isn't knocking on the major league door at the moment.

As we're starting to get a clearer picture of what this trade looks like in retrospect, more time is still needed. Masterson needs to prove that he can find consistency as a starter and put together multiple strong seasons. Hagadone will soon have to prove that he can make the jump and get big league hitters. And if both of those guys can do those things, it really won't matter what Price does, and any success he has for the Indians will be gravy.

Again, acquiring Martinez was the right move to make for the Red Sox at the time in 2009, and you always have to give up something to get something. But looking at these things in retrospect is always fun. However, if Masterson is throwing seven solid innings next year before turning things over to Hagdone to close the door, it will be just a little less fun for Red Sox fans watching from afar.

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