Vaughn: Cards gave up on Craig and Kelly too soon

Vaughn: Cards gave up on Craig and Kelly too soon

Vaughn: Cards gave up on Craig and Kelly too soon


by Doug Vaughn / BaseballStL

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 1 at 8:05 AM

Do you agree with trading Kelly and Craig for John Lackey?

(BaseballStL) -  I’m not a big fan of the Cardinals trading Allen Craig and Joe Kelly for John Lackey and a minor league pitcher. How soon we forget just how good Craig and Kelly were last season.

Craig was an all-star in 2013 and considered among the best clutch hitters in all of baseball. Kelly was among the National League’s most effective starting pitchers in the second half. Both suffered injuries that have caused them to struggle this season. Craig hasn’t fully rebounded from last year’s foot injury. Kelly missed most of this season with a hamstring injury.

Weren’t these guys considered cornerstone type players just three months ago? Both are still in their prime and under club control for a few more years. There’s no guarantee John Lackey will be back with the Cardinals in 2015. Rather than pitch for the minimum of $500,000 per his unique contract, he could decide to hold out or retire. Seems like the Cardinals have taken quite a risk with this deal.

Some notable baseball writers around the country seem to share that opinion: 

Bob Nightingale of USA Today:

The St. Louis Cardinals kept trying to tell us they didn't want to part with their prospects, damaging their future.

Who knew they would trade away key players on their 25-man roster to damage their future.

Yes, they are going for it now, but, oh, what a hefty cost.

It's an absolute heist for the Red Sox.

Do you support the Lackey trade? Share your thoughts.

Maybe it will be worth it, if the Cardinals reach their third World Series in four years.

If they miss the playoffs, after also acquiring Justin Masterson on Wednesday from the Cleveland Indians, this deal could haunt them for years. 

Matt Sullivan of SB Nation:

Even at his best, John Lackey isn't the easiest player to root for. He is a self-described "a_____" on the mound. He treats every base hit and borderline call against him as a personal slight, cursing like he just discovered someone keyed his car. He yells at teammates and paces angrily after any misplay. He seems aware of the fact that these actions don't paint him in the best light, but he doesn't appear to make any attempt to change his behavior. His reaction to the chicken-and-beer scandal, in which he called the reports "retarded," didn't help things either. All of these unlikable traits may have helped to further alienate fans from a player they didn't want to begin with. 

Jesse Spector of the Sporting News:

This trade is a mistake for the Cardinals. Craig is signed through 2017, with a $13 million option for 2018. Kelly isn’t even eligible for arbitration yet. Lackey has an option year left at a bare-bones $500,000, but he is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA and 3.56 FIP this season.