The Red Sox have dealt their top two starters today, as Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes went to the Oakland Athletics this morning for Yoenis Cespedes, and now they have dealt John Lackey to St. Louis. They appear to be winners in both deals, as they have bought Allen Craig and Joe Kelly on the low, while also adding a big-time power bat in Cespedes.
But if Lackey can take the Cardinals to a World Series championship, it will not matter what they gave up to get him. The 35-year-old Texas native is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and a 116 to 32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Over his career, Lackey has been a good, reliable starter. He has a 4.02 ERA, 3.88 FIP, and a 1,742 to 641 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his 2202 2/3 innings pitched. He is 18-20 with a 3.07 ERA in 38 regular-season games against National League teams.
Lackey will be a free agent at the end of this season, barring a vesting option for 2015. His vesting option turned into a club option at the major league minimum salary in 2012, when Lackey missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery. The Cardinals could choose not to pick it up, however.
In return, the Red Sox will be getting two players off of the Cardinals 25-man roster in Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. This season, Craig has had a down year, as he is hitting a .237/.291/.346 line with seven home runs and 44 RBI. His 78 OPS+ is well below his career average 120 mark. The Red Sox could be making a very good buy-low move for him. As for Kelly, he is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and a 25 to 10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 35 innings pitched. Reports said that the Cardinals did not value him very highly.
The Red Sox continue to make moves and shuffle up their roster. The one interesting thing about these moves is that they are for major league players, and not minor league prospects. The Red Sox could have a legitimate shot at turning into a contender once again in 2015, especially if Jon Lester decides to return to Boston. As for the Cardinals, they are trying to make a run once again with pitching, as they have acquired John Lackey and Justin Masterson on back-to-back days.