As we all continue to digest the trade deadline moves by the Cardinals, here are some of my random thoughts on them.
The Cardinals overpaid on John Lackey
Lackey is a good pitcher and all that, but is he really worth both Allen Craig and Joe Kelly? My initial impression when I heard of the trade was that we "sold low" on both Craig and Kelly. Yes, they were both having down years and perhaps had fallen out of favor with the Cards, but couldn't we have gotten something better for them?
Despite all that, I don't think we could have used those two to get David Price and I don't think that John Mozeliak would have given these guys up for a two-month rental (aka Jon Lester), so maybe Lackey was the best he could do.
David Price's price was cheaper than I thought
In a 3-team deal, the Rays traded Price to Detroit while getting Nick Franklin (from Seattle), Drew Smyly (from Detroit) and minor leaguer Willy Adames. Franklin was, at best, a top 50 prospect and has yet to hit in the majors. Smyly is a good, solid left handed pitcher. While Adames is kind of a "meh" prospect.
Could the Cardinals have topped that? Certainly. Give the Rays Shelby Miller, Stephen Piscotty and some mid-level prospect and you should have a deal.
My thought all along is that it would take a top-end prospect to land Price, but apparently that was not the case.
Acquiring Justin Masterson was a classic Mozeliak move
The last few years we've grown accustomed to the Cardinals GM John Mozeliak making small tweaks to the team at the trade deadline (or thereafter). The last couple years those tweaks were to use some extra prospects pieces to acquire a struggling pitcher in hopes they turn it around with the Cards.
In 2012, that pitcher was Edward Mujica, who had a 4.38 ERA with the Marlins before Mo acquired him. He then proceeded to post a 1.03 ERA down the stretch with the Cardinals.
In August of 2013, the Cardinals picked up John Axford from the Brewers, who had a 4.45 ERA prior to the trade and a 1.74 ERA afterwards.
Hopefully, Masterson can follow this same trend.
Are the Cardinals really better off?
The team dealt from its surplus of outfielders to acquire some pitching depth, but does that make them better? Well, maybe.
The starting rotation should be better with Lackey and Masterson replacing Kelly and Martinez, who has been shipped back to Memphis to keep him stretched out as a starter. The biggest question is how Masterson's knee holds up.
On the hitting side, moving Craig opens up an opportunity for Taveras, but weakens an already thin bench. It also remains to be seen if Taveras can outproduce Craig, at least this season.
Overall, I would have been happy if Mozeliak had just stopped with the Masterson trade. The Lackey trade is one that could certainly come back to haunt him. However, it obvious that Mo felt that he had to make a big move to try to shake up this team and get them back to playing the way they're capable.