Tuesday, December 15, 2009
SOX NO LONGER LACK PITCHING
That's the best pun I could come up with involving John Lackey's name. Not very good, I know. More importantly, the Sox are in the midst of signing Lackey to a 5 year deal.
I'm pleased, and confused. I like Lackey, and I the Sox needed to solidify their rotation. Lester-Beckett-Lackey-Matsuzaka-Buchholz sounds so much better than Lester-Beckett-Matsuzaka-Buchholz-Wakefield. Lackey is the quintessential #3 starter on a quality rotation, and I don't like the idea of Matsuzaka being anything but a 4th starter.
Lackey's numbers aren't staggering, but he's kept his ERA below 4 in each of the last 5 seasons. In '07, he was 3rd in Cy Young voting, with a 19-9 record and a 3.01 ERA.
He has ample postseason experience, with 12 starts and 14 total appearances and a surprisingly low 3.12 playoff ERA. He won Game 7 of the '02 World Series as a rookie.
But he's had some injury problems the last two years, and hasn't surpassed the 180 inning mark. He's also 31, pretty much at his peak for a pitcher, and the 5 year deal he'll get will probably see him enjoy some of his declining years with a big salary.
I'm struggling to understand why a 31 year old #3 pitcher is worth 5 years and around $80 million, and a 31 year old mid-lineup hitter isn't worth 5 years and $75 million. If given the decision, I'd choose to keep Bay instead of add Lackey. And that's a big deal for me because I believe pitching is twice as important as offense.
That being said, if all of the Red Sox starters are as good as they can be, the Sox have the best rotation in baseball.