The Boston Red Sox traded veteran starting pitcher John Lackey and pitching prospect Corey Littrell to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon. In exchange, Boston receives outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly.
Here's a report on Littrell, the only prospect in the deal.
Corey Littrell, LHP: Littrell was drafted in the fifth round by the Red Sox in 2013, from the University of Kentucky. He had an excellent sophomore year in 2012, posting a 2.74 ERA with an 87/25 K/BB in 99 innings while showing a 95 MPH fastball, positioning himself for a potential spot in the first or second round. However, his junior season wasn't as impressive, with a 3.72 ERA and a 77/35 K/BB in 94 innings along with a loss of velocity. He still went in the fifth round and has pitched fairly well in 2014, posting a 3.60 ERA in 100 innings for High-A Salem in the Carolina League with a 91/38 K/BB and 101 hits allowed.
Littrell is a 6-3, 185 pound southpaw born March 21, 1992. He works at 89-92 MPH, still decent enough for a lefty, mixing in a curveball, cutter, and changeup. His command is somewhat inconsistent but when its on it helps his pitches play up. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation arm.
ANALYSIS: Seems like a good stretch run trade for the Cardinals to me, trading two players who look surplus to their needs for a veteran arm having a strong season. They have options to replace Craig and Lackey is a better bet than Kelly to help reach the post-season this year. Getting a Grade C+ type prospect like Littrell adds some depth to the deal and the Cardinals have had good success helping similar pitchers max out their talents.
It works for the Red Sox, too, as the team positions itself for 2015. I think Craig has a rebound season in him and Kelly is an effective inning-eater when healthy and younger than Lackey. So overall, I think it is good for both teams.