Cubs add John Lackey to rotation with two-year, $32 million contract

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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.

Mattingly: Marlins sidelined by virus are ‘feeling great’

Marlins COVID-19 tests
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Maimi Marlins players sidelined by COVID-19 are all asymptomatic, and some have applied for reinstatement, according to manager Don Mattingly.

The Marlins placed 17 players on the injured list last week following an outbreak in Philadelphia that forced seven games to be postponed. The infected players returned to Miami to be quarantined, and will likely need rehab workouts before rejoining the team.

“They feeling great,” Mattingly said. “They all feel like they’re ready to go. There are a lot of guys who have applied for reinstatement. How long that takes, I’m not sure. But they feel like they’re ready to at least get back and start doing something.”

Players on the COVID-19 injury list must be cleared by the MLB joint committee before returning.

Mattingly made his comments before the Marlins’ game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, where they concluded a season-opening trip that turned into a 23-day marathon because of scheduling changes necessitated by the outbreak.

The team plays at Marlins Park for the first time this season Friday against Atlanta.