John Lackey traded to Cardinals for Allen Craig, Joe Kelly
Just nine months removed from winning a world championship, the Boston Red Sox are now selling off all of the assets that got them there. Shortly after Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes were sent to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes, the Red Sox traded John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals.
According to Peter Gammons, the Cardinals are sending 26-year-old starting pitcher Joe Kelly and 30-year-old outfielder Allen Craig to Boston.
On the surface, it looks like the Red Sox are having a fire sale. They have now traded Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Lester and Lackey — all important pieces in Boston’s improbable World Series run. But in reality the Red Sox are simply changing their approach in hopes of contending again next season.
We all know what Cespedes is capable of. While he is 28 and merely a .250 hitter with pop at this point, he could be the righthanded power hitter that the Red Sox desperately need in the middle of their lineup. His numbers could also skyrocket if he uses the Green Monster to his advantage. Cespedes is also an above-average fielder with a tremendous arm.
Craig became a full-time player for St. Louis in 2012 and hit .307 with 22 homers and 92 RBI that season. He followed it up with a .315/13/97 line in 2013 and is on pace for around 90 RBI again this season, despite a low average of .237. In Kelly, the Red Sox are getting a young starter who went 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 15 starts last season. Kelly is struggling a bit this year, but he has obvious potential.
If the Red Sox were looking to rebuild to contend again five years from now, they would have demanded top prospects for Lester and Lackey. Instead, they have acquired proven MLB players who could help round out their roster in 2015. On the flip side, the A’s and Cardinals have added important pieces that could help in the postseason this year. I don’t think anyone got hosed in either deal.