Once upon a time “baseball wise men” really liked the John Lackey signing

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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors dug up an interesting article from February of 2010 in which ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark polled “20 baseball wise men” about which of that offseason’s free agent signings were the best. Their answer?

1. John Lackey (5 years, $82.5 million)
2. Chone Figgins (4 years, $36 million)
3. Matt Holliday (7 years, $119 million)

Well, so far they’ve been right about Holliday at least. Stark’s write-up of the poll is plenty interesting in retrospect too:

You might think the Red Sox needed another top-of-the-rotation type starter about as much as the U.S. Curling team needs another broom. But in truth, there’s no such thing as too many big-time starting pitchers. So, faced with a free-agent class that featured no hitters they felt comfortable turning into mega-millionaires, the Red Sox reeled in Lackey.

I really don’t mean to mock Stark, who was merely discussing the results of a poll he conducted and was hardly alone in those thoughts about the Red Sox and Lackey at the time, but the notion of Boston having too much rotation depth is sort of mind-boggling right now.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.