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The Boston Red Sox have traded John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for first baseman-outfielder Allen Craig and right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly.
The Cardinals will also receive minor league pitcher Corey Littrell and cash considerations.
Craig has been with the Cardinals since the beginning of his career in 2006, and plays both first base and in the outfield. Between Craig and Yoenis Cespedes, who was acquired in the Jon Lester trade with the Oakland Athletics, the Red Sox now have much better outfield options. Over the 97 games this season, Craig has been hitting .237/.291/.346, though he has the potential to consistently bat .300 based on previous years’ performances. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2010 and had All-Star game appearances in 2012 and 2013.
Kelly, who was drafted in 2009 by St. Louis, will be a welcome addition to the pitching staff after the loss of the Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics. He has pitched at the major league level for two and a half seasons. Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA.
Littrell is a 22-year-old, left-handed pitcher listed as #36 on SoxProspects.com. He played A-ball for the Lowell Spinners and Salem Red Sox since he was acquired by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. This year with Salem he had a 3.60 ERA. Though Littrell is still young, the Cardinals organization knows how to leverage the potential of left-handed hurlers so his ranking and influence in that organization may be higher.
Lackey was 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA for the Red Sox in 2014. He helped the Red Sox win the 2013 World Championship by starting the Game 6 clincher, bouncing back after Tommy John surgery in 2012. Lackey is set to earn league minimum next season according to injury clauses in the five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed with the Red Sox in 2010.