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"40 in 40" - Lackey, John

Name: Lackey, John

Position: Starting Pitcher

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

#: 40

Age: 32

Size: 6' 6" 245 lbs

Acquired: Signed as a FA on Dec. 14th 2009

Contract: $15,250,000 (same for 2012-2014, vesting option in 2015)

Comments: Lackey was a part of th big offseason last year in part with other FA signings: Marco ScutaroMike Cameron and Adrian Beltre. He was given a 5 year contract and expected to sit behind Lester and Beckett as a very good #3 man for his age 31-35 seasons. Whether or not he is or will be worth the money he signed for remains to be seen. In 2010 the big right-hander disappointed overall, but if you can look behind the numbers a bit for some encouragement. Lackey posted a 14-11 record last year with a 4.40 ERA . His FIP and xFIP numbers were a bit better at 3.85 and 4.32 respectively. In all he surprisingly accounted for a 4.0 WAR season which is not that far off from his norm and using fangraphs' salary evaluation he actually produced a season worth 15.9 million in value - right on par with his 2011 salary. What is really encouraging, however were his 1st/2nd half splits (WHIP: 1.602/1.216, K/9: 5.4/7.8). Basically, he started missing bats more in the 2nd half. Whether this was him working back from injury, fixing a mechanical flaw or both, we'll probably never know. 

Career Stats:

IP: 1716

ERA: 3.89

WHIP: 1.32

FIP: 3.83

xFIP: 4.04

K/9: 7.12

BB/9: 2.69

K/BB: 2.65

BAA: 0.266 

Unique Stat: Since 2003, Lackey is 5th in the majors (pitchers) in cummulative WAR behind Halladay, Sabathia, Santana and Oswalt.

Analysis: Many jumped on the Lackey signing with both feet, and rightly so. The deal was likely too long and for too much money for a guy turning 31 and coming off of an injury. Lackey then started out of the gates like a horse with 3 legs to fan the fire (and ire). However, unnoticed during a lost season for the Sox was a resurgence in Lackey which points to a rebound in 2011. Hate him or not, he's on the team and if he can provide that solid #3 behind now Lester and Buchholz - it will go along way toward carrying the Sox to the postseason.

Tomorrow: Jon Lester 

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