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.
Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.
That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.
Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.
Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.