When the Red Sox signed John Lackey I was surprised, but happy. Lackey was coming off dominating the Red Sox in the playoffs, and had had much success in Anaheim. The rotation looked terrific. You had Jon Lester, who many people saw as a Cy Young Canada going into the season. Josh Beckett, coming off an all-star season in a contract year. And Lackey, the Angels' ace.
But it turned out things were not all roses and cherries. The Red Sox decided to sign Beckett to a four year deal. Let me rephrase that. The Red Sox signed an injury prone, aging, prima dona, inconsistent starting pitcher.
Look, Beckett has had two dominating years in his career. 2007, and 2003. In 2008. he was constantly hurt and he faded down the stretch in 2009. And Theo Epstein decided to sign him.
The case for Lackey now. I do not blame Theo for going out and signing the best starting pitcher on the market. Yes, I thought he was overpaid. But you are always going to overpay for pitchers.
Lackey had a disappointing start to the season, as did most of the team. But a lot of people, including myself, thought he was going to bounce back and be the John Lackey we knew. But no. He did not improve as the season went on. His ERA has dropped, but it is hard not to drop an ERA over seven.
The thing about Lackey that gets me is the excuses. After a game vs Anaheim, a game the Red Sox came back to win, Lackey was asked about a three run home run he surrendered to Alberto Callaspo. He bitched and moaned about it, saying that is is not a home run in most other ballparks.
So now you are blaming the ballpark for the hanging curveball you threw. OK. I also do not like his act with the other players. When Ryan Kalish threw a ball away and run scored about a week ago, Lackey stood there, and raised his hands in the air as if to say "What the Hell!?" Now, it was a bad throw by Kalish. But he did not put those men on base. That run scored not because of Kalish, but because Lackey put them on base. So you better think carefully of who is at fault there next time, John.
So, we are pretty much stuck with these contracts for four more years each. Stuck with two pitchers with an ERA above four and closer to five. Prima dona bitchy pitchers, who will continue to make excuses, such as about the ballpark or who is catching that night. Now, I do not think they will be pitching here for four more years, at least not Beckett. I think they will probably eat that contract sometime in the next two years. I don't think they will with Lackey as much. I would not be surprised, but I get the feeling he will bounce back a bit. But he will never be worth that $16.5 mm.