Grading the John Lackey Trade for the Boston Red Sox

John Lackey tradeThe Boston Red Sox weren’t done after the Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester trade which sent both to the Oakland Athletics for Yoesnis Cespedes. A couple of hours later, the Red Sox sent John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for struggling 1B/OF Allen Craig and starter Joe Kelly. The deal also included Single-A lefty Corey Littrell and $1.75 million to the Cardinals in the deal.

Lackey was the No. 2 on the staff for the last couple of seasons after missing 2012 with Tommy John surgery prior to the season. He was reliable in the 2013 postseason and has earned the respect and admiration of most fans after losing a lot of weight and getting back in shape for the 2013 season. In 2014, he leads the team with 11 wins while going 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA. He was 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA over five playoff starts last season.

The Cardinals also receive a lefty in Littrell who could be a serviceable part of a pitching staff, but will need a couple of seasons to reach higher in the Cardinals farm system as he is currently in Single-A. In 2014, the 22-year-old is 5-5 with a 3.60 ERA while striking out 91 batters and walking 38 in 100 innings.

The Red Sox will be getting a couple of pieces in return who are major league-ready. Craig has played terrible this season with a  .237 average, only seven home runs and 44 RBI in over 90 games played. The 30-year-old had .312 with 46 homers from 2011-13. He is under contract through 2017 with a team option in 2018 for $13 million or a $1 million buyout.

Kelly has been in both the bullpen and the starting rotation over the past three seasons. In seven starts this year, the 26-year-old has a 2-2 record with a 4.37 ERA. He has 38 starts in 68 carer appearances since 2012. He has missed substantial time this year with a left hamstring strain.

With the John Lackey trade, the Red Sox lose another part of a pitching rotation that won a World Series less than a year ago. It is the fourth starter the Red Sox have traded this week and it looks as if the Red Sox are looking toward the 2015 season.

Crag and Kelly are serviceable options and the change of scenery could improve their struggles this season.

Grade: B

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