With David Price off of the board, the Chicago Cubs went in a different direction on Friday, and are rumored to have come to an agreement with free agent right hand pitcher John Lackey. The deal is believed to be for two years and between $32-34 million dollars, or $183 million dollars less than Price.
President Theo Epstein stated that the Cubs were likely not in the market to take on another $100 million dollar contract, and quite possibly never even made an offer for Price. Instead, to fine-tune the roster that had the third most wins in the majors, the Cubs are likely going to pick their spots with “Plan B” options that work. John Lackey will fill a need and fit in nicely in Chicago.
Lackey is 37-years old and a two-year deal is just right for the innings eater who last year played for the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Lackey is a World Series Champion and reunited once again with friend Jon Lester. Last year, Lackey logged 218 innings pitched, Price had 220. Price is 0-7 in the postseason while Lackey owns multiple wins including a Game 7 victory. Lackey may not be flashy, but he is effective.
While it would have been a sexy trio of Price, Lester, and Cy Young Jake Arrieta, it may not have been the right fit long-term. With a mega deal for Price, Lester, and eventually an extension coming for Arrieta, the Cubs could have committed $300 million dollars to three players. That is also not including the young offensive stars that will eventually need extensions like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.
With the game getting younger, veterans still win games in October. Lackey will provide that added depth within the rotation for the Cubs behind Lester and Arrieta. Chicago will also save a lot of dollars to reinvest in other needs, as well as still grooming young starters like Kyle Hendricks, Carl Edwards, and Pierce Johnson.
This deal for Lackey, may not wow the winter meetings like Lester did a year ago, but signing Lackey is a great fit for the Cubs. The only “price” Chicago is concerned about is the bottom-line. It also adds just a little bit more spice to the heated Cubs versus Cardinals rivalry.