Jul 18, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcherJohn Lackey
(41) throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
#5 – John Lackey
But … but Lackey doesn’t play for Boston anymore!
That’s the problem. He plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, now. The six-foot-six, 235-pound frame was moved with a minor league player for, supposedly, a steal of outfielder Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly. At the time, last year, the Red Sox were purging the remnants of the 2013 World Series championship team in order to rebuild their franchise. Lackey became collateral damage, under a misguided decision.
Lackey would have only cost the Red Sox $500 thousand this season because of a clause in his contract to tack on an extra year if he had Tommy John surgery. He had the surgery, so this would have been his sixth year with the Red Sox for a very inexpensive cost. Lackey had a winning record in his final days with Boston (11-7, with a 3.60 ERA) and showed no major signs of slowing down.
Instead, the Red Sox are now paying $5.5 million for a hitter who can’t make it out of Triple-A, who is guaranteed another $20 million for two more years, and just over $600 thousand for a pitcher who keeps losing games and could seek arbitration next year.
Lackey is 8-5 with a 2.90 ERA for the Cardinals this season. Between the Red Sox starters, Clay Buchholz is the closest to Lackey with a 3.26 ERA. That’s not a knock on Buchholz, but that’s a kick in the teeth to Red Sox fans, knowing that Lackey’s services could have been theirs on the cheap.