I have to admit, my first thought was panic. John Lackey was going to ruin the clubhouse; he was going to tear down the vibe and everything Joe created last year. Then I began to think. Joe Maddon’s not going to let that happen. Joe Maddon is going to turn John Lackey into an asset. If he can’t play for Joe Maddon, who can he?
John Lackey may have pitched for the Cardinals the last 2 summers. To some Cubs fans, that is a dreadful thought and that signing him is like a deal with the Devil. However, Lackey also won World Series in Boston and Anaheim. He’s a winner. At 37, he is still bringing it, at least for 200 innings a year. Add this, his contract is only for two years.
Sure, there might be a downside, like losing the 28th pick in the 2016 draft, but then again, the Cubs just signed Eddy Julio Martinez, a player many, including Keith Law of ESPN, thought to be equal to signing the first pick in the 2016 draft in terms of talent.
In terms of his own talent, Lackey gets by because he knows how to pitch. His days of a big fastball in the 2002 World Series are gone. He does have guile, moxy, grit, and any other hardworking quality you want to ascribe to him. However, he can also be a giant jerk. In the end, he has been a guy you love to hate on other teams, but you love to love him on your team. Lackey is likely going to be the Cubs’ fourth or fifth starter.
I do not think the Cubs are quite done adding SP talent.
Look for two things to happen in the next couple weeks:
- The Cubs make a trade next week at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. I am going away to a conference on Monday and Tuesday in St. Charles. As a result, this will happen with my luck. I went to the same conference last year and that is when the Cubs signed Jon Lester.
- International Free Agents – There are lots of them still available, including Japan’s Kenta Meada, who looks to be posted very soon. Also, there are several Cubans I keep talking about. Baseball America noticed them, too in an article today specifically related to the Cubs signing them (subscription required)! Many of the names should sound familiar you: Ruiz, Gutierrez, Sierra, and Moran – all names we have talked about a lot the last two months. There were a two young new ones, too, in: Ronald Bolanos and Cienel Perez.
The Cubs should be adding these stocking stuffers very soon. No one is going to miss that draft pick if the Cubs sign some Cuban pitchers who likely have higher ceilings than anybody they could get at #28.