John Lackey intends to honor contract and pitch at major league minimum salary in 2015

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The Cardinals acquired right-hander John Lackey from the Red Sox yesterday in exchange for outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly. While they paid a premium in order to land him, it’s impossible to look at this deal without taking Lackey’s contract into account.

When the Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract in December of 2009, they put a clause into the deal which specified that a club option for 2015 at the major league minimum salary ($500,000) would be added if he missed significant time with an elbow injury. That option was triggered after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011.

There’s been some speculation that Lackey would retire rather than play at the major league minimum next year or perhaps try to negotiate his deal, but he told reporters upon his arrival in St. Louis today that he intends to honor his contract.

Since his return from Tommy John surgery, Lackey has posted a 3.55 ERA over 50 starts while averaging 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Now you can see why the Cardinals paid a big price with Craig and Kelly. Not only did they acquire a good pitcher, they got a tremendous value.

Report: Diamondbacks sign Jarrod Dyson to two-year, $7.5 million contract

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Jarrod Dyson to a two-year contract. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the deal is worth $7.5 million.

Dyson, 33, spent last season with the Mariners. He hit an underwhelming .251/.324/.350, but stole 28 bases while playing superb defense in center field.

Dyson doesn’t quite make up for the Diamondbacks losing J.D. Martinez, who just signed with the Red Sox, but he will bring some speed and defense to the outfield along with A.J. Pollock. It’s not quite clear how the D-Backs plan to utilize Dyson. That should be made clear after the deal is announced.