John Lackey is giving the Boston Red Sox all that he has in the tank, as his contract controversy next year looms overhead. As the trade deadline approaches, this makes Lackey one of the most attractive potential targets.
In his start against the Minnesota Twins today, Lackey went nine strong innings, giving up three hits, walking one and striking out nine. He didn’t factor into the decision as the Red Sox won a dramatic victory in extra innings. Even more impressive about Lackey’s stats, is that since Apr. 23, he owns a 2.27 ERA spanning 79 1/3 innings. Quite a resume for 2014.
Once again, this brings up the potential of what the Red Sox should do with Lackey come the trade deadline. As of late, the Red Sox are getting back on the winning side, going 6-4 in their last 10 games and sitting seven games out of first place in the American League East. It’s literally right in the middle of falling out of contention and still being in the hunt. In terms of the Wild Card, the Red Sox are four games out of a spot. Literally, right in the middle of being in or out of it.
Lackey could be an interesting trade piece like I’ve stated before, and he’s certainly helping his value by having a stellar season for the Red Sox. On the flip side, if the Red Sox decide to keep Lackey, they could essentially sign him to an extension and rip up the final year of his contact that he owes. Either way, Lackey is doing all he can to make sure he makes out as best as he can.
If the Red Sox are to get into a playoff spot, Lackey will be an essential piece of the puzzle to make it. Pitching behind Jon Lester, the Red Sox don’t have much solidified in their rotation. Struggles to Jake Peavy, Clay Buccholz and Felix Doubront have essentially put the rotation in shambles. Other than Lackey and Lester, who can you really count on for a win right now in the rotation? Brandon Workman comes to mind, but his spot isn’t guaranteed as of right now. So Lackey pitching like he has been is as important as ever.
I think the decision of whether the Red Sox are buyers or sellers this year is going to go down to the wire. The moment you think you have this team figured out, they go on a losing streak or winning streak. I don’t think even they know who they are yet. The important aspect is, Lackey knows what he needs to do and he’s delivering.