What “Winning A Trade” Really Means

Today, instead of that debate on outfielders, I’m participating in a question exchange with my fellow blogger C70. I’ll finish the OF debate in my next post.

His question is: Who won the trade between the Cards and the Red Sox?

That trade, where we sent Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to the Sox for John Lackey, is, in theory, a classic win now trade. The Red Sox, who were basically in ‘Everything Must Go’ mode, got rid of alot of their veterans, including their ace, Jon Lester.

The Cards meanwhile, were looking to add some pieces for a playoff run. Classic short term vs. long term trade.

A couple things though…

1) There’s a decent chance Joe Kelly was still rusty from his time on the DL. If his performance against the Cards, where he allowed just one run, was more of an indicator of his talent level then an indicator our dreadful offense, we may have lost this trade.

2) On the other hand, Lackey’s first start for us went well, and he has that unique clause in his contract that makes him uber-cheap for next year, making him more than a 2014 playoff run rental.

3) And then there’s Allen Craig. Funny how he went on the DL right after being acquired by the Sox…Makes you wonder if he should’ve been on the DL when we had him, and if that foot was responsible for his bad year.

4) So, as far as the baseball side goes, I’m going to say the short term does go to the Cards, as it fills our needs for a consistent (there is that word again!) starter for the playoff run…

5) But in the long term…I think Kelly alone wins this trade for the Sox, with Craig’s friendly contract as a nice bonus. We’ll get 2, maybe 3 solid years out of Lackey, while Kelly has the potential to be a solid member of the Red Sox rotation well beyond those 2 or 3 years.

So that’s the baseball side, but there’s another side to this, and I’m not talking about toughness, or an edge or anything like that. I’m talking about connections.

Kelly and Craig had a connection to the Cards. Kelly, even though he had lesser service time, seemed to establish more of a connection with the fans, due to his goofiness. (This is a minor thing, but I also liked his cool glasses he used when he was pitching.) He had a connection to the club due to the fact that he and Shelby Miller came up through the system together and bonded. How many second year players get a standing ovation when they return to face their former club? Kelly did. Admittedly, it was partly due to the fact we faced Boston right after the trade, but I think he still would’ve gotten that standing ovation if he had faced us a month after the trade.

Lackey, battle tested as he may be, currently feels like a mercenary, someone with no connection to this club .The same can be said for  A.J P. Perhaps we’ll feel differently in a few years, but right now he’s a merc, with no connection to this club. The same may eventually be true of Justin Masterson if he flees for free agency. Obviously this all changes right away if we make a World Series run with these guys, but right now, there’s no connection.

Finding players that you connect with as a fan is rare. You can have great players on your team that you don’t feel a bond with. You may appreciate them, but you don’t connect with them. For example, I appreciate Matt Holliday and what he does for the team, but I don’t feel a connection with him, whereas there may be role players who you do bond with. For example, Pat Neshek isn’t a superstar (though he did make the All-Star team this year for the first time) yet I love him. I love his quirky delivery, I like his baseball card collection. I just really like the guy, and I hope we manage to re-sign him.

So on the connection side of things, we lost.


Thanks for reading.


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