Cardinals Land John Lackey for Joe Kelly, Allen Craig
By Tom Smith
Jul 27, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey (41) smiles in the dugout during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
John Lackey is the latest pitcher to be acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals. Joe Kelly and Allen Craig will be sent to the Red Sox. What is this like seven pitchers the Cardinals have now?
When the Cardinals traded Jon Lester to the A’s we weren’t certain the Lackey would also be moved. Who is going to pitch for Boston the rest of the season was a frequent tweet out of Boston. Now with the Sox flipping two starters for three Major League players, it’s rather easy to see the team still is interested in winning–and in short order–as early as next season. It’s not hard to consider the team could get Lester back and the AL East would get really interesting especially if Kelly pitches as well as he did last season and Craig can return to his 2013 form as well.
It’s also obvious that St. Louis understands that it is going to need to pitch the hell out of some games down the stretch until the offense gets life once again. The Cards surely see what Oakland is doing as well and wanted post season pitchers with strong resumes.
Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this year that it would be unlikely for Lackey to play next season on the $500,000 team option which the Red Sox hold. So with Lackey under contract for the Major League Baseball veteran’s minimum due to a clause in his contract that activated an extra year if Lackey missed significant time due to a pre-existing elbow condition.
Lackey missed all of last year with an injury, so immediately the smart option placed in his contract has kicked in for the 2015 season. Lackey is very afforadable next season, but it’s unknown how all of the contract talk discussion will be worked out when the offseason hits. Regardless, the Cardinals at the very least have a talented pitcher that could be a trade chip if they choose to move him.
Lackey isn’t a young arm, he is 35 years old, but has pitched well the past two seasons going 21-20 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.188 WHIP.
The big thing about Lackey is that he was dependable in the postseason. The right hander has made 16 starts in postseason play with an ERA just over three. More recently, Lackey went 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings making four starts and appearing in five games.
The righty gave up just one in 6.2 innings against the Cardinals in the deciding game of the World Series last year breaking the hearts of the best fans in baseball. Now he’s one of them.