The St. Louis Cardinals traded for Cleveland starter Justin Masterson on Wednesday for Minor League outfielder James Ramsey. Masterson will start for the Red Birds Saturday at Busch Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers. This trade wasn’t one that had a high impact for the Cardinals, however. They acquired a number three or four starter for a minor league player. However, the Cardinals were not done after acquiring Masterson Wednesday.
According to CBSSports.com’s very own Jon Heyman, the Cardinals have acquired John Lackey from the Red Sox for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. This trade puts the Cardinals as the front runners to win the National League Central division. The Pirates and Brewers so far have stood pat. The Brewers have been regressing a ton lately and seem like they’re destined to either miss the postseason or fall short of winning the division but still gain a wild card spot. The Pirates, on the other hand, really could use a starter because their starting rotation has been extremely inconsistent thus far. It will be interesting to see how the rest of Thursday plays out.
As for the Cardinals, they gain Lackey, who is 11-7 and owns an earned run average of just 3.60 this season for the Red Sox. Lackey has also struck out 116 batters in 137.1 innings pitched this year as well as a K/9 of 7.6. The Red Sox have won both trades they’ve been involved in. The Lester deal gave them Cespedes, who everyone knows is a superstar with a cannon of an arm in left field. And at Fenway Park, that cannon could very well be on display every single night. Now, they add Kelly and Allen Craig to their roster and all of a sudden the Sox seem to be in better shape after trading Lester and Lackey than they were before.
The Cardinals aren’t dumb and they are the model franchise when it comes to running an organization, not just a major league team. But the Cardinals also shouldn’t have overpaid for Lackey like I feel the A’s did for Lester. But this year the market is tough and it seems as if the Red Sox now have a very bright 2015 ahead of them. The A’s gave up a superstar for a few months of Lester’s services. That’s all well and fine for them if they win the World Series, but what if they don’t? Anything is possible in baseball so don’t write off any team just because they have to face Oakland. But they are definitely the favorites to win the NL Central now.