This past week, the Chicago Cubs signed 37 year old John Lackey to a 2-year, $32 million deal. Lackey pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, who are the Cubs’ biggest rival. Ironically, the last time Lackey pitched was in Game 4 of the NLDS, against the Cubs. Lackey started that game for the Cardinals, but only pitched three innings giving up 4 earned runs. The Cardinals lost that game 6-4, ending their season, and hopes at a World Series run.
Last season, Lackey had one of his best seasons in his career going 13-10 with an ERA of just 2.77. He started 33 games, pitched 218 innings, and struck out 175 batters. Lackey and the Cardinals’ starting rotation were the one consistency on a team that was overwhelmed with injuries on the offensive side. The starting rotation lead the Cardinals to the MLB’s best regular season record, 100-62.
The Cubs are hoping Lackey can pitch well again in 2016, even though he is nearing the end of his career. The Cubs found out they needed depth at starting pitcher position after getting swept in the NLCS by the New York Mets. The Mets’ young rotation dominated the four games. After the Cubs used their two aces, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, in Games 1 and 2 the series, the series was basically over. This made it obvious to management that they needed to upgrade the middle of the rotation this offseason.
John Lackey has many previous ties with members of the Cubs organization. Lackey was teammates with current Cubs players David Ross and Jon Lester, with the Boston Red Sox from 2013-2014. These three players were a big part in the Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series. Lackey also has ties with the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. Epstein was the General Manager for Boston from 2002-2011. Lackey was familiar with Epstein and that may have played a role in Lackey’s signing.
Lackey will most likely take over the number three spot in the Cubs’ starting rotation for the 2016 season. He will be behind aces Arrieta and Lester. This signing adds depth to the rotation, which will benefit the Cubs as they are poised for another postseason run in 2016.
With the Winter Meetings in full swing, the Cubs have been looking to trade some of their excess of young talent to acquire more starting pitching. The Cubs actually just completed a trade with the Yankees yesterday (December 8) at about 7:30 P.M. The Cubs gave up their young and talented infielder Starling Castro for pitcher Adam Warren and a player to be named later. Warren is 28 years old and went 7-7 with a 3.29 ERA last season. Warren started games and relieved in games for the Yankees last season, and it will be interesting to see how the Cubs plan to use him in 2016.
The Cubs have proven that they want to win now, and they are trying to make the moves to do so. They are looking to win their first World Series in over 100 years, and management seems to making the right moves to lead them in the right direction of achieving that goal. The Cubs offseason is not done yet, and they are rumored to be interested in a big named free agent outfielder. The Cubs’ front office is making the moves that they hope brings a World Series championship back to the Cubs and their fans after this long wait.
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Spark Sports Baseball Analyst