LACKEY

OUT: Joe Kelly & Allen Craig; IN: John Lackey

The Cardinals made a trade today before the deadline, acquiring starting pitcher John Lackey for outfielder Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Cardinals players appeared stunned and shaken by the news upon arriving at Petco Park for today’s 2:40 p.m. game against the Padres.

I guess the good news is that they actually showed up for the game today as opposed to last night.

Make no mistake, this was a SCUD missile aimed directly at manager Mike Matheny by GM John Mozeliak – start breaking your bad habits, or they’ll be broken for you.

Allen Craig was a good Cardinal.

With a record setting 2013 campaign, he cashed in with a contract that will pay at least 26 million and as much as 42+ million dollars through 2018. In 2014, though, Mr. Craig was totally lost at the plate. With the talent surplus the franchise has in the OF, being able to erase that number from the payroll while acquiring talent and freeing up playing time for the prospects?

Solid move.

Joe Kelly? Joe Kelly is a different story. He’s the kind of player (and person) that everyone loves. He’s a fun dude. But baseball is a cold game. And at the end of the day, he’s a imminently replaceable part of a staff.

I think I speak for everyone when I wish these guys well.

But John Lackey is 11-7 with a reasonable 3.60 ERA for a bad Red Sox team in 2014. He’s got a team option for 500K in 2015.

The Cardinals also get Corey Littrell a former top draft pick for the Red Sox that’s currently in A ball.

Basically, the Cardinals saved a bunch of money on what could be a bad contract with Craig, acquire a veteran pitcher to shore up the starting rotation, have a reasonable prospect they can develop and free up more playing time for Oscar Taveras (and possible other AAA OF players).

Can’t see the downside here.

If Craig bounces back in 2015, it might hurt a bit. But OT was going to need to be there anyway. So basiaclly this comes down to 2 things:

1) Do you believe that Matt Adams is the future at 1B?

2) Do you believe that Oscar Taveras is a good player?

If so, then you make this trade all day. Probably for a lot less than John Lackey, if for nothing else than to create more payroll and playing time for other prospects. Otherwise the same Craig, Taveras, Adams platoon is happening next year.

Oh, and that SCUD missile? That’s Mo letting Matheny know – in no uncertain terms – what he thinks should be going on in RF.

More to come as the deadline approaches.

Photo: CSNNE

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