Yeah, that’s face that will represent your Boston Red Sox on the mound every five days beginning in 2010. Except maybe in April, because for the past couple of seasons, Johnny hasn’t started pitching until May. In case you haven’t picked it up from the tone of this post, I’m not a huge fan of this deal, for many reasons.
First, signing any 31-year-old starter to a 5-year deal is risky, particularly when injuries have delayed the start of his season for the past two years. We’ve all seen the rapid decline of starting pitchers in their mid-thirties…what can we expect to get out of Lackey in years 4 and 5 of this deal? Looking at the numbers, Lackey’s decline may have already begun: his ERA, WHIP and BAA have all been increasing for the past three seasons, not a good trend.
Despite playing on good Angel teams, Lackey has only won more than 14 games once in his career (19-9 in 2007). The stats suggest Lackey will give the Sox 13-14 wins per year. That’s a couple more than Tim Wakefield gets…but the Sox will be paying Lackey several million dollars more per year for the couple extra W’s.
One of the more disturbing issues is Lackey’s ability to pitch against the AL East and specifically in certain parks: one of those being Fenway. In his nine career Fenway starts, Lackey is 2-5 with a 5.25 ERA and .314 BAA. Career at the Trop: a lofty 6.75 ERA and .302 BAA. And career stats versus the Yankees: a 4.66 ERA and .289 BAA.
Sorry to be the “glass half empty” guy on this, but it’s not the big move I was hoping for. Lackey seems like the JD Drew of pitchers. And finally (it would not be a Denton post involving Lackey without this), he looks like he should be riding on a tractor or mending fences in the south pasture.
God, I hope I’m wrong about this.