Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly

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Not satisfied with adding Justin Masterson to the rotation yesterday, the Cardinals have added another veteran starter by acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox. And, much like Boston’s deal to get Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland for Jon Lester, the Red Sox have prioritized the present by getting veterans Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange.

[MORE: Trade deadline tracker]

Not only has Lackey bounced back from a lost 2012 season with two consecutive solid years as a mid-rotation starter in Boston–posting a 3.55 ERA in 50 total starts since last season–he’s under contract for 2015 at the bargain price of $500,000 thanks to an odd wrinkle in his original deal with the Red Sox.

In return the Red Sox get a rotation replacement for Lackey in the 26-year-old Kelly, who has a 3.25 ERA in 38 career starts. However, his modest 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the National League are reason for skepticism that he’ll thrive long term, especially in the American League.

[MORE: Breaking down the Jon Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade]

Craig had three straight excellent seasons for the Cardinals, hitting a combined .312 with an .863 OPS in 328 games from 2011-2013, but he’s collapsed this year at age 29 with a .638 OPS and has three years and $25 million left on his contract. St. Louis has stud prospect Oscar Taveras ready to replace Craig in the outfield and in the lineup.

Boston is betting on a big bounceback from Craig and Kelly’s ability to step into Lackey’s rotation spot with similar results. St. Louis is betting on Taveras developing into a star, Lackey being better than Kelly for the next one-and-a-half seasons, and Craig staying on the decline heading into his thirties. It’s a helluva interesting deal.

Video: Christian Yelich belts league-best 20th home run of 2019

Christian Yelich
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It’s been a good week for multitalented Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, who showed off his beer chugging capabilities during a Bucks game on Thursday night, then returned to dominate the baseball sphere on Friday with his 20th home run of the season.

In the third inning, Yelich worked a full count against Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickoff, finally letting loose on a 91.1-m.p.h. fastball that dipped into the right field corner to help the Brewers snap a 2-2 tie:

According to MLB Stats, the 27-year-old outfielder reached the 20-homer threshold in the fewest number of team games since Josh Hamilton did it for the Rangers in 2012. Friday’s blast also marked the third such hit he’s recorded against the Phillies in the last two weeks alone, following two home runs off of Edgar García and Zach Eflin during the club’s last road trip.

Entering Friday’s opener, Yelich held a .325/.440/.732 batting line with 19 homers, nine stolen bases, and a 1.172 OPS through 191 plate appearances. While he was held out for the majority of the week’s games due to a mild case of back spasms, he appears to have made a full recovery.

The Brewers currently lead the Phillies 4-3 in the fourth.