Gordon: Mozeliak shakes up Cards roster

Gordon: Mozeliak shakes up Cards roster Live

Many baseball experts pegged the Cardinals as one of the favorites to land Red Sox hurler Jon Lester.

Instead Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak landed Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, dealing Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Consider this a major roster shake-up.

This deal comes on the heels of the Justin Masterson trade. Obviously Mozeliak did not trust his internal options to shore up the back end of the rotation.

The Cardinals will have Lackey next season at the low, low cost of $500,000 thanks to his unique post-injury contract.  (If he excels this summer, the Cardinals might revisit that bargain rate with an incentive-driven extension.)

Also, the whole "who plays right field?" question has been cleared up.
Craig was just 5 for 45 in his last 15 games. Despite that, he was alternating in right field with Oscar Taveras.

This trade puts an end to that rotation. Taveras celebrated by crushing a two-run homer this afternoon at Petco Park. Craig has hit one home run since May 29. Hence the trade.

Kelly's exit came as a bigger surprise. He is a popular teammate and a key part of the clubhouse chemistry.

But in the long term, Kelly was facing an uphill battle for a rotation slot against
Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Marco Gonzales, Tim Cooney and others. Getting Lackey beyond this season made the trade much more palatable for the Cardinals.

Mozeliak also got left-handed pitching prospect
Corey Littrell in the deal -- as if the team needs any more young pitchers.

Earlier in the day,
Lester and
Jonny Gomes went to Oakland in a blockbuster deal. The
A's added a third high-quality pitcher while trading away one of the game's most promising outfielders,
Yoenis Cespedes.

Boston also got Oakland's competitive balance draft pick in that deal while the Red Sox sent money to the A's.

Why would the A's make such a short-term deal? After all, Lester will become a free agent after this season and there is little chance Oakland could win that bidding.
Cespedes has a contract that allows him to explore free agency prematurely and perhaps the A's realized he would be out of their price range after the 2015 season.
So that made it easier for Oakland to go "all in" for this postseason and deal the slugger for a rental pitcher.

Late in the day, the Tampa Bay Rays shopped David Price -- the pitcher who generated the most buzz before the waivers-free trade deadline. The deep-pocketed Tigers won the bidding.

Here is the Lackey news:

Here is how the Twitterverse reacted to the Price trade:

Here is how the Twitterverse reacted to the Lester deal:

Here is what else is happening in the marketplace:


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