We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my head hurts a lot
We've got five years, that's all we got
Who knew David Bowie was singing about John Lackey all those years ago.
When reports surfaced yesterday that Big John was in town for a physical, I have to say I was blindsided. Sure, talks had broken down with Bay so a Plan B was in order and there were reports (which I thought was bogus) earlier in the offseason of the Sox interest in the righty. But come on, this just isn't a a move Theo makes.
5 years for a pitcher is a scary situation. Especially a 31 year old pitcher. Especially a pitcher with arm injuries the last two years. Especially a pitcher with a declining strikeout rate. Especially a pitcher who although has been the nominal ace of the Angels for the last 5 or 6 years is not really among the top echelon in baseball, ranking 26th in FIP (a statistic similar to ERA that measures a pitcher's value based on what he has the most control of: Ks, BBs, and HRs) in 2009. (Here is a much more negative look on the move which I mostly agree with, but watch out it is very stat heavy)
But I like what the move means to the team overall. Ya, 5 years is one or two years too many. I mean shit, in 5 years I will be 31, a full blown adult. And Lackey will probably at best be an average pitcher, and $16.5M is too much for just an average pitcher.
But the Red Sox can afford to overpay for some players as long as they fit a plan. And with the Mike Cameron signing (comments on this tomorrow) the plan has clearly shifted. We aren't the big mashers of the Manny Ortez heyday (but still ranked as the 3rd best offense in the AL last year). We are a pitching and defense team, fronted by a scary Top 3 of Beckett/Lester/Lackey with 4 and 5 starters who could be a 2 or 3 for most other teams, including the Yankees. This monster of a pitching staff is supported by what could be an all-time great defensive team. Keep in mind this team was second in the AL in run prevention last year by a mere 4 runs. Look out mf'ers.
Ch ch ch ch changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time (I don't know if these last two lines fit my argument, but I like to use bookends)