No details of the visit have been revealed by the Red Sox, but Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that John Lackey recently met with Dr. Lewis Yocum in California to have his right elbow examined.
According to Bradford’s sources the Red Sox expect to have a “final resolution” by the end of this week, which suggests surgery is an option for Lackey.
Lackey is owed $15.25 million in each of the next three seasons and there’s an option for 2015 that triggers at the MLB minimum salary if he needs elbow surgery.
Having him around for another season, even at the league minimum, may not sound like a positive thing for the Red Sox, but as Bradford notes the extra year being tacked onto the current contract would change the annual value of the deal and allow the team to spread out his luxury tax figure.
In other words, Lackey having elbow surgery would knock him out for 2012 and put his career in flux, but it would also save the Red Sox some money. And obviously finding out that he has significant elbow damage would help explain Lackey’s decline. His average fastball velocity this season matched a career-high at 91.6 miles per hour, but Lackey’s strikeout and walk rates were both far worse than his career norms.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).
Free agent closer Mark Melancon is entertaining at least two offers in the four-year, $60+ million ballpark, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The teams thought to be in the running are the Giants and Nationals, with the Giants having a slight edge due to their strong interest in him last summer (per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick).
Crasnick also said that while the Giants are keeping tabs on the top three free agent closers this winter, the other two being Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, they’re leaning toward Melancon as a (slightly) more affordable option in the ‘pen. It’s worth noting that Melancon would not cost the Giants a draft pick if they decided to sign him.
Melancon had an outstanding season in 2016, nearly reaching career-best numbers with a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and 5.42 K/BB rate in 71 1/3 innings split between the Pirates and Nationals’ bullpens. The veteran right-hander earned his third career All-Star distinction after stifling opposing hitters with a 1.23 ERA and 7.9 K/9 rate in the first half, and went on to appear in his fourth consecutive playoff run.
Despite the Giants’ apparent lead in the bidding for Melancon, Rosenthal mentioned a third mystery team who might throw their hat in the ring as well. No clubs have been name-dropped as of yet.