The St. Louis Cardinals, just like the Oakland A’s, have added to their already strong rotation today. Around 11:30 AM, the Boston Red Sox traded RHP John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for RHP Joe Kelly and 1B/OF Allen Craig.
Sources: Red Sox are sending LHP Corey Littrell to Cardinals as part of the Lackey deal. 2013 5th rounder out of Kentucky
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 31, 2014
Another very good move for the St. Louis Cardinals. With uncertainty around Michael Wacha and his shoulder, the Cards went out and made moves to make sure their rotation was set without him. Yesterday, the Cardinals acquired RHP Justin Masterson from the Indians. Masterson, who is going through the worst season of his career, is coming off his best season of his career in 2013, where he went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 193 innings pitched. The Cardinals are banking on him returning to form in the National League. Adding Lackey to the mix, the Cardinals now have a much stronger five-man rotation, especially if and when Wacha returns later this season. With Wainwright leading at the top and Lance Lynn in the two-spot, Masterson, Lackey, and Miller will round out the final three in the rotation for the time being.
John Lackey currently has a 11-7 record (on a very bad Red Sox team) with a 3.60 ERA in 137.1 innings pitched. More importantly, in 19 postseason games (16 of them started), the right-hander has a 6-5 record with a 3.03 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Nothing too dominant, but most of these games have come against American League teams. With Lackey now in the National League, his numbers should only improve. Good move for the Cards.
On the flip side, the Boston Red Sox continue to change their whole team around. The Sox receive RHP Joe Kelly, who isn’t much to talk about. In seven starts this season, he is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA. None of his other numbers are impressive and he doesn’t strike out a ton of guys. He’s only 26 years old and is under team control for four more years, so there are positives there. Kelly also went 10-5 last season with a 2.69 ERA which was fairly impressive, so we will see how that pans out. But the Red Sox aren’t banking on him to be an ace. On the flip side, the Sox do get Allen Craig, who last season hit .315 with 13 HR, 97 RBI, 29 doubles, and a .373 OBP. He was a huge part of the middle of the lineup. So far this year, he is only hitting .237 with 7 HR, 44 RBI, 17 doubles, and a .291 OBP. Quite a drop off. But Craig is a career .291 hitter, so his numbers should improve. He is 30 years old, but I can see him enjoying hitting around Pedroia, Ortiz, and Cespedes.
The Red Sox are also throwing in LHP Corey Littrell, a 2013 5th rounder from Kentucky. He isn’t ranked in any top prospect lists, but the Cards must like something about him. The 22-year-old has pitched this season in advanced Class-A, posting a 5-5 record with a 3.60 ERA in 18 starts. He had previously thrown in the mid-90s but is now down in the high-80s and low-90s.1 If he can get his velocity back up, he could quickly move up the ranks.
I like the move for both teams, but I really like it for the Red Sox. The Sox trade Lackey, who isn’t needed this season, for a pitcher who could maybe help the rotation in the future and a hitter who should be able to dominate at Fenway. Not a bad haul at all. Actually, a very solid pickup. For the Cardinals, it is also a good deal for them. They add Lackey who will help their rotation down the stretch and into the postseason. This also allows for top prospect Oscar Taveras to play everyday. Even with Craig not producing this season, they lose a big spot in the middle of the order. They will probably deal for another bat later today.