Cardinals Acquire Lackey; Kelly, Craig To Boston

In their second blockbuster trade of the day, the Red Sox sent veteran starting pitcher John Lackey to the Cardinals along with minor leaguer Corey Littrell and about $1.75MM in cash in exchange for young starter Joe Kelly and outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig.  The deal is now official.   The Red Sox continue to focus on players that can help them win in the near future, having traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes earlier today.  The Cardinals further bolster their rotation, having acquired Justin Masterson from the Indians yesterday.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Lackey, 35, has a 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, and 46.9% groundball rate in 137 1/3 innings this year. His 2014 numbers closely resemble his work last year, a resurgent season after his 2011 campaign culminated in Tommy John surgery and he missed all of 2012. A second round draft pick in 1999, Lackey spent the early part of his career as a front of the rotation workhorse for the Angels.

Lackey joins Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn at the front of a St. Louis rotation that suffered several blows this year.  Jaime Garcia is out for the season after rib surgery this month, while Michael Wacha will return in September in the best case scenario as he recovers from a stress reaction in his pitching shoulder.  In addition, the Cards received unspectacular work from Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly.  Masterson is due back soon from a DL stint for knee inflammation, and hopes to put this year’s struggles behind him before reaching free agency.  The Cardinals are currently in third place and 2.5 games out in the NL Central, and one game out in the Wild Card.

The Cardinals also receive Littrell, a 22-year-old starter in High-A ball who was drafted in the fifth round last year out of the University of Kentucky.  He owns a 3.60 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 0.72 HR/9 in 100 frames this year.  Littrell did not rank among the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects prior to the season in the eyes of Baseball America, though BA ranked the team’s farm system seventh overall.

Kelly, 26, posted a 4.37 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, and 54.3% groundball rate in 35 innings for the Cardinals this year.  He won the team’s fifth starter job out of spring training, but injured his hamstring in mid-April and missed nearly three months.  Kelly will have two years and 116 days of Major League service after 2014, meaning he’ll likely miss Super Two status and won’t become arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season.  He’s under team control through 2018.  Kelly boasts an average fastball velocity near 95 miles per hour, a 3.25 career ERA, and 29 1/3 innings of postseason experience, but his peripheral stats don’t quite match up.

Craig, 30, has slumped to a .237/.291/.346 line in 398 plate appearances this year.  He hit .306/.358/.492 in 1,420 plate appearances prior to 2014, suggesting he could bounce back for Boston.  Craig signed a five-year, $31MM deal with the Cardinals in March 2013, of which about $26.4MM remains through 2017.  The deal also includes a club option for 2018.  Craig has appeared at first base and the outfield corners in his career, though he’s generally regarded as a below-average defensive outfielder.  The Red Sox have designated hitter David Ortiz potentially through 2017, though first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Shane Victorino are signed only through 2015.

The 2011 Tommy John procedure plays a large role in Lackey’s trade value. When the Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year free agent deal in December 2009, concerns over his elbow led to a clause creating a club option for the league-minimum salary for 2015, which was triggered with the Tommy John procedure. That means playing for little more than $500K next year after earning more than 30 times that much in each of the previous four seasons.  Lackey has told the Cardinals he plans to honor the club option, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

This season, Lackey has a bit over $5MM in salary remaining, plus a $500K assignment bonus for being dealt. He had been scheduled to start tomorrow in Boston as the Red Sox kick off a three-game set against the Yankees.

Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com first reported the Red Sox were close to trading Lackey to the Cardinals or Dodgers.  Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first identified the Cardinals.  Peter Gammons of MLB Network first named Joe Kelly and Allen Craig as part of the deal.  WEEI’s Alex Speier first named Corey Littrell as part of the deal, while Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was first to report the cash involved.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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320 Comments on "Cardinals Acquire Lackey; Kelly, Craig To Boston"


Alex Foltz
1 year 1 month ago

Shelby Miller, or prospects?

Ace2095
1 year 1 month ago

Or Both?

Alex Foltz
1 year 1 month ago

Depending on the prospect, that’d be a massive overpay. John Lackey is controllable next year at $500k, but so is Miller, and Miller beyond that, still with upside.

NotCanon
1 year 1 month ago

He’s only controllable at that rate if he doesn’t take his ball and go home.

Jesus Gutierrez
1 year 1 month ago

piscotty

Alex Foltz
1 year 1 month ago

interesting. Not sure what to make of that yet

Pei Kang
1 year 1 month ago

good call, I was thinking Jon Jay, but the Cards’ brass loves him.

cardinalsfan27
1 year 1 month ago

Piscotty and Cooney I’d guess. I don’t think Shelby will be part of it.

cardinalsfan27
1 year 1 month ago

They’re reporting it’s Joe Kelly and Allen Craig.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

Kelly I was sure of, Craig surprised me. Do they bring up Piscotty, and put Taveras in CF and Piscotty in RF?

cardinalsfan27
1 year 1 month ago

I still think Jay will play CF but I can see them bringing Grichuk or Piscotty up.

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

I mean Jay in CF is a good option, Taveras isn’t hitting well, but Grichuk didn’t hit well in his time in St. Louis, I’d rather bring up Piscotty and give him a shot.

Jason Inghram
1 year 1 month ago

Really? Damn Joe kelly is a very solid looking cheap cost controlled pitcher!! I’d be surprised if it was him as the pitcher Im a Cub fan but I’d rather it be Miller if I’m a Cards fan

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

As a Cards fan, I’d rather get rid of Kelly. He has less upside then Miller. Miller if he can get his control down, will be a great pitcher.

Eric Murray
1 year 1 month ago

Rather deal Miller over Kelly? No wonder you are a cubs fan lol

Matt Jelinek
1 year 1 month ago

Yes. Rather deal Miller over Kelly. You’re living in the past, look at some meaningful statistics. And what does being a Cubs fan have anything to do with an opinion on a trade?

Thomas Erie
1 year 1 month ago

For who

1 year 1 month ago

Saw Allen Craig from someone. Not sure it makes sense though.

Ace2095
1 year 1 month ago

Allen Craig could make sense, but not as a headliner.

1 year 1 month ago

Not with Cespedes though, but I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.

Ace2095
1 year 1 month ago

They could always flip Cespedes to a team like the mariners, theres just no telling at this point.

Trock
1 year 1 month ago

I think they keep Cespedes and try to lock him up. Depending on how much he is obviously, they keep him and if they can’t retain him they trade him around next years deadline. Lose value a bit but if they can lock him up at a decent contract, they would love to be all over that

hediouspb
1 year 1 month ago

cespedes ends up being part of an offseason move to miami

Trock
1 year 1 month ago

For who?

hediouspb
1 year 1 month ago

big league replacement for Stanton. bunch of prospects and cespedes to bring the huge young bat back.

Picachu1
1 year 1 month ago

No way. They’ll keep cespedes. Hell be in a hitter friendly park for the first time as a home team. He’s done well in Oakland, but in Oakland every home run is a monster because it’s deep.

chicothekid
1 year 1 month ago

If they trade Cesp, the Mets will beat any deal over Miami. The fish don’t need OF’s and the Mets desperately need a cleanup hitter and corner OF.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 1 month ago

The dominoes are falling!

bleedDODGERblue
1 year 1 month ago

I wanted Lackey but hopefully Boston is getting Shelby Miller so he cant throw at us anymore

Aron
1 year 1 month ago

Why??? Why do Dodger fans want to give up good prospects to land another arm when it changes little. You are already blessed in the rotation. Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Beckett (whos putting together a good year and has some extensive playoff experience) is more than enough to get you through the playoffs to a WS

NotCanon
1 year 1 month ago

Greinke’s going to opt out, Beckett could – and likely will – turn into a pumpkin at some point in the near future (oh, and he, too, will likely be

an FA at season’s end).

Aron
1 year 1 month ago

Then throw a bunch of money at Lester when the seasons done. And Im sure even if Greinke opts out, he’ll re-sign because A) has had great results with the Dodgers B) is on a winning team and C) its freakin LA

NotCanon
1 year 1 month ago

I’m equally sure that he’ll sign with whomever gives him the most money, and if the Dodgers could replace Greinke with any of Hamels/Lester/Scherzer for similar money, they’d jump on it in a heartbeat.

Picachu1
1 year 1 month ago

Lester is going back to Boston when the season is done; guaranteed!

Aron
1 year 1 month ago

definitely not guaranteed

bleedDODGERblue
1 year 1 month ago

Who said anything about good prospects? A’s were “set” in their rotation and went out and got Lester. Gotta put together a team to win the World Series

Aron
1 year 1 month ago

So you just wanted the Sox to hand him to you? To get Lackey you’d be giving up prospects and not ML roster players like the Cardinals gave up because you don’t have any that aren’t crucial come playoff time. Plus, even with the As additions Id say the Dodger rotation in the playoffs is better

JimEdmondsMVP
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe for a deal centered around Gonzales?

Kendall Adkins
1 year 1 month ago

Grichuk and Cooney? Just a guess.

Outside the Crease
1 year 1 month ago

getting an OF

stl_cards16
1 year 1 month ago

I’ll guess Piscotty and Reyes

GrilledCheese39
1 year 1 month ago

Pirates better pony up for David Price right now.

NomarGarciaparra
1 year 1 month ago

They should’ve ponied up for Lester. They have strong OF prospects and their OF is full and controlled long term.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 1 month ago

Another outfielder? In Ben we trust. I guess. First place or last place next year?

Karkat
1 year 1 month ago

All the outfielders!

sherrilltradedooverexperience
1 year 1 month ago

all your outfielders belongs to us!

Trock
1 year 1 month ago

They are hoarding OF like the Cubs hoard SS!

redmeansgo82
1 year 1 month ago

I find it really funny that people think Boston’s getting Oscar Taveras.

Jason Inghram
1 year 1 month ago

Taveras seems very fragile tho..I wont question the player he can be cuz he has mad talent,but I seem to recall major character issues with him in ST. Yes I’m a Cubs fan but I do respect your franchise your team is ran & built exactly how I want ours & the Cubs are finally close to making Cards Vs. CUBS fun!! Taveras tho needs to show some signs of life in The Show tho he looks overmatched..

Mike
1 year 1 month ago

He struggled in the spring too. I think he’s trying too hard to make an impression.

Alex Foltz
1 year 1 month ago

he was still recovering from injury in the spring.

slasher016
1 year 1 month ago

An outfielder, maybe they’ll flip Cespedes to the Reds.

Jason Inghram
1 year 1 month ago

Yeah wishful thinking..Who do the Reds even have that resemble a decent prospect?

slasher016
1 year 1 month ago

Reds have tons of decent prospects. They have two in the top 50. Their farm system is middle of the pack. They don’t have a lot of wow prospects, but their top 10 is solid.

NUWildcats36
1 year 1 month ago

This is an absolute firesale by the Red Sox. If they got a top 5 prospect from the Cards (Piscotty, Kaminsky, Gonzales) or Miller, it’s a fantastic trade.

mike pemberton
1 year 1 month ago

anything on tulo to to the mets

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

ML ready might be Grichuck and Miller. Not the worst if that’s how it goes.

Frittoman626
1 year 1 month ago

Allen Craig most likely.

Kendall Adkins
1 year 1 month ago

God, I hope so.

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

Sox won’t want Craig.

Justin
1 year 1 month ago

Oh really? they wont?

Alex Foltz
1 year 1 month ago

Heyman says SP and OF. Wow

Ned L
1 year 1 month ago

I thought Cespedes was going to go with in this deal.

Dave
1 year 1 month ago

I’d sure love to see Cespedes in STL.

Craig, Miller and a prospect for Lackey and Cespedes sounds great. Wish that were the deal.

Ned L
1 year 1 month ago

I think it would make sense for both teams, Cards may have to up the price a bit though.

TRAPstar
1 year 1 month ago

Grichuk + Marco Gonzales

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

Something like that. Feels a bit heavy, but possible.

Kendall Adkins
1 year 1 month ago

I’d rather it be Craig.

JBagKY
1 year 1 month ago

Some one said Kelly and Craig to BoSox

Seamaholic
1 year 1 month ago

Don’t think Cards give up Kelly. Craig would be a net negative to the Sox I would think.