Last offseason Theo Epstein lured Jon Lester from Boston to Chicago with a huge long-term deal and now he’s signed another of his former Red Sox starters, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cubs have agreed to a two-year deal with right-hander John Lackey.
According to Rosenthal the two-year contract is worth $32 million, allowing the Cubs to avoid making a commitment beyond 2017 to a 37-year-old pitcher. Lackey turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals, who now receive a first-round draft pick as compensation for losing him to their NL Central rivals.
Lackey is coming off a fantastic season for St. Louis in which he logged 218 innings with a 2.77 ERA and 175/53 K/BB ratio. It was by far his best season since his prime with the Angels a decade ago, but combined from 2013-2015 he started 93 games with a 3.35 ERA and 500/140 K/BB ratio in 605 innings.
Chicago being in the market for rotation help beyond Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and Lester is no surprise, but being able to add a playoff-caliber starter in Lackey without a huge long-term commitment has to be considered a win for Epstein and the front office.