Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Red Sox paid the market rate or $82.5 million over five years with a limited no-trade (set by the MFY and A.J. Burnett) for John Lackey. He is a pitcher whose peripheral statistics have been trending downward since his age 28 season in 2007. We will be lucky to see one or two years with a K/BB ratio higher than three and it will probably occur in 2010 or 2011. But it was a solid signing as the upcoming free agent starting pitching market is thin. Josh Beckett, who profiles a lot like Lackey, and Cliff Lee, who wants C.C. Sabathia money and is likely to be in pinstripes this time next year, are the only two top of the rotation pitchers coming to market next winter.
After the 2010 season, Lackey gives the Sox insurance against Beckett leaving, Buchholz slowly developing and Matszuka continuing to be a bust. And this year, he makes the Sox rotation tops in baseball!
Cameron is unlikely to match Jason Bay’s power or contact numbers, although he is never play his home games in such a hitter friendly Park, but his OBP should be close and his defense is superior. If Ellsbury or Cameron plays in left, it will be an upgrade in the 81 games away from Fenway. In front of the Monster, the increased defensive range is probably not significant. The Sox seem to be paying for a skill that will only be used to its full potential 50% of the time. Since the contract is for two seasons, it could be more for flexibility and redundancy in 2010 and roster optimization in 2011, when David Ortiz comes off the books.