John Lackey Drawing Significant Interest

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, there are at least half a dozen teams who have already shown some interest in signing free agent right-hander John Lackey.

It was expected Lackey would garner a good amount of interest given his strong performance in 2015. Despite his age, Lackey was still able to pitch like the pitcher he was when he was younger, and he could provide a good short-term boost for any contending team next year. With the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers all mentioned by Rosenthal as potential interested teams, Lackey should definitely do well this offseason. While his market is already quite robust, there could be even more interest from several other teams as the offseason progresses.

With interest at such a high level, Lackey will certainly have plenty of options come this winter. Coming off a season in which he had a bit of a resurgence, Lackey has done a great job of rebuilding his free agent value nearing the end of his career. Lackey finished the season with a 2.77 ERA in 218 innings pitched and was arguably the most consistent and productive starter in the Cardinals rotation. Lackey was good for 3.6 WAR last season which was his highest such mark since his 2007 season with the Angels.

At first glance, it appeared the Cardinals were going to let Lackey leave via free agency. However, given the already season-ending injury to Lance Lynn and the injury concerns of Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals may be more inclined to bring back Lackey to give the Cardinals rotation much-needed depth. Beyond them, all the rest of the teams make good potential fits for Lackey with the Red Sox and Cubs being two intriguing options.

At 37 years of age, Lackey is obviously not going to get a huge long-term contract commitment, but he still should be able to get a two- or three-year contract in the $30-$45 million range depending on the number of years. Lackey has still proven himself to be a more than capable pitcher and should be a good buy for whatever team ends up signing him.

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