John Lackey is reported to want something better in terms of money and years than A.J. Burnett got last winter. A.J. Burnett got five years and $82 million. That puts Lackey’s demand in the six-year range, with total dollars approaching $100 million.
Guess what: he ain’t gettin’ that from the Angels, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. GM Tony Reagins: “There is a point where it doesn’t make sense. You can jeopardize your organization moving forward when you
consider the dollars a player might command.”
How about the Mets? As was reported the other day, the Mets aren’t interested in going six years, either. There is some suggestion this morning that there is still some internal debate about this in the Mets hotel suite, but even that is characterized thusly: “Lackey currently is the only free-agent starter the Mets would consider going beyond three years on.”
The problem with that phrasing is two-fold: (1) it ends with a preposition — it should read “Lackey is the only free-agent starter for whom the Mets would consider going beyond three years”; and (2) there’s a big difference between “willing to go beyond three years” and “willing to give a 31 year-old starter who is a notch below the usual cream of the free agent crop six years and $100 million.”
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.