Same Old John Lackey for the Boston Red Sox

By Justin Söderberg
John Lackey (Photo: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports)
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

On December 16, 2009 the Boston Red Sox signed starting pitcher, John Lackey. The right-hander agreed to five-year contract worth $82.5 million with the Red Sox.

When the Red Sox inked Lackey to his five-year deal, they were expecting the starting pitcher who pitched for the Los Angeles Angels since coming into the league in 2002. The year prior to becoming a free agent, Lackey posted a 12-5 record with a 3.75 ERA, 1.231 WHIP and 130 strikeouts over 163.1 innings for the Angels. That was the pitcher the Red Sox wanted in their starting rotation.

In his first year with the Red Sox, Lackey pitched 176.1 innings, posting a respectable 3.83 ERA and struck out 177 batters. It went all down hill from there. In 2010, Lackey’s ERA ballooned to a 4.40 and his WHIP to 1.419 over 33 games. It got even worse in 2011, when Lackey had one of the worst ERA’s in the major leagues,at 6.41 and recorded an ugly 1.419 WHIP in 28 games. Something was obviously wrong and prior to the 2011 season, the Red Sox figured out what it was, Lackey needed Tommy John Surgery.

Lackey missed the entire 2012 season, recovering from the offseason surgery. The Red Sox are getting their first look at the repaired Lackey during this year’s spring training in Florida. After his surgery, the hope is that Lackey will be more like his 2008 to 2009 form and less like 2010 to 2011 self.

After his first two spring training starts, Lackey has given up four earned runs on four hits over three innings. His spring training ERA is a whopping 12.00 and isn’t looking much like a major league starting pitcher. Is he the same old Lackey or is he just getting back into the grove of things.

Lackey is still owed $31 million over the next three seasons and in the end he will never live up to the money he was paid to pitch for the Red Sox. Lackey is the same old pitcher the Red Sox saw from 2010 to 2011 and will not get back to his former self.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here.

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