According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are one of six teams that have at least checked in with veteran right-handed starter John Lackey. Rosenthal reported the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Red Sox, Dodgers are the other five clubs.
The level of the Cubs interest in John Lackey is unclear at this point. Lackey has a lot of ties to the Cubs from the players to Joe Maddon to the front office. Jon Lester said during the season that Lackey would be a welcomed addition to the Cubs’ clubhouse and rotation.
Joe Maddon was with the Angels when Lackey came up through their system and was Mike Scioscia’s bench coach in 2002 when Lackey made his big league debut for the World Series Champions. And Theo Epstein was the GM in Boston that signed Lackey to the six-year contract that just expired.
With the questionable pitching depth in St. Louis, it is believed the Cardinals are going to make every effort to re-sign Lackey. The Cardinals made Lackey a qualifying offer and attached draft pick compensation to him should he sign with another team.
John Lackey turned 37 in October and will likely sign a two- to three-year contract. Jim Bowden thinks Lackey will ink a two-year, $30 million deal.
The veteran right hander was the rock of the Cardinals rotation this past season. Lackey posted a 13-10 record with a 2.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 3.57 FIP. In 33 starts, Lackey allowed 71 runs, 67 earned, on 211 hits with 53 walks and 175 strikeouts in 218 innings.
Not counting the two outings against the Cubs in the NLDS, Lackey tied a career-high in starts for a single season and completed the second most innings of his career. Lackey pitched 218 innings, the most since 2006 with the Angels when he had 217 2/3 innings. Lackey was 19-9 in 2007 for the Angels with a 3.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In 33 starts eight years ago, Lackey finished 224 innings.
Since missing the 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lackey has pitched rather well. In the season and a half with the Cardinals, Lackey was 16-13 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 43 starts.
John Lackey would fit in a Cubs rotation the front office would like to add a veteran starter to this winter.