John Lackey for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly
Another trade, another utter lack of prospects. This seems to be a trend. Lackey had Tommy John surgery in 2012, which is an important note not only because it presents a health risk, but also triggers a clause in his contract that turns his 2015 salary into a team options for $500,000.
That’s the league minimum, which Lackey has far exceeded in 2014 in terms of production. He’ll be 36 in October, so he’s not a long-term answer, but the Dodgers could have used him this season to shore up the back of their rotation.
Craig was one of the better hitters in the NL from 2011-2013, but suffered an ankle injury in late 2013 that required surgery and he hasn’t been the same since. This season, he’s slashed just .237/.291/.346 and just turned 30. Craig is signed through 2017 with an option in 2018.
Kelly, known primarily for using Hanley Ramirez for target practice, had split time between the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen and rotation the past few seasons before starting in 2014. Through seven games, he’s been solid, if unspectacular. He has a power fastball and a curve but trouble locating them. With his arm strength, Kelly might end up in a bullpen.
Could the Dodgers Have Matched? No.
It may be safe to assume Boston is betting on Craig to rebound. Despite the Lisfranc injury and him being 30, he has a track record of being a very good hitter. The Dodgers don’t have a similar hitter (with a track record) on their roster.
Maybe Andre Ethier, but you can’t excuse his recent lack of production by citing a specific injury. The closest thing the Dodgers have to Kelly is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s considerably better and trading him for Lackey would be idiotic. The pieces simply did not match up.
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