Cleat Geeks

Cardinal Red to Cubbie Blue

635685418122136786-2015-05-29-John-LackeyJohn Lackey will be wearing a very different color next season. The Chicago Cubs have landed veteran pitcher John Lackey on a two-year deal worth close to $32 million.

Last year, Lackey’s stat line with the St. Louis Cardinals was a 2.77 ERA in 33 starts, throwing 218 innings, allowing 211 hits, and only 53 walks. He shut out the Cubs over 7 innings in Game 1 of the division series and then, pitching on three days’ rest, took a no-decision in Chicago’s series-ending Game 4 victory. In 2015, Lackey threw his most innings in a season since 2007 and passed the 200-inning milestone for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2012. He made $507,500 last season because of a clause in his previous contract with the Boston Red Sox. With this two-year, $32 million deal, Lackey’s average annual value will be 31.5 times larger than it was in 2015.

johnlackey tlumacki_redsoxvsbaltimore_sports687-11635The Chicago Cubs will most likely slide Lackey into the number 3 spot in the rotation behind Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Righties Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks would occupy the number 4 and number 5 spots, pending other deals by the Cubs. This will be a Boston reunion in Chicago for Lackey, Theo Epstein, Jon Lester, and David Ross. Lackey, Lester, and Ross played for the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2013. “One of the best competitors I’ve ever been around, and I’m not just saying that,” Ross said. “He’s going to bring a toughness to our team that is going to make everybody better.” Cubs manager Joe Maddon was on the coaching staff with the Los Angeles Angels when Lackey broke into the league in 2002 and won his first World Series ring. Welcome to Chicago, John Lackey!

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