REPORT: Cubs Agree to Two-Year Deal with John Lackey (UPDATE)

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REPORT: Cubs Agree to Two-Year Deal with John Lackey (UPDATE)

Chicago Cubs

Breaking news from Ken Rosenthal:

We’ll see if there are any finer details, but, at two years and $32 million, I think it’s a great move for this Cubs team. More analysis on Lackey here and here.

If this deal is finalized, the Cubs will lose their first rounder (pick 28) to sign Lackey, who is coming off of one the best seasons of his career at age 36, and will pitch next season at 37. That said, he needs only to be an average starter or slightly better for the next two years for this deal to be a winner for the Cubs.

This solidifies the Cubs’ rotation, which, right now, would be Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks. I doubt the Cubs are done in the rotation, though. Assuming this deal goes through, the Cubs will now have some security as they explore trade options and other free agents that, perhaps, slip later in the offseason and can be had on a nice deal. They can afford to be more opportunistic now.

Furthermore, by getting Lackey on a short-term, relatively inexpensive deal, the Cubs do not necessarily close the door on more aggressive spending elsewhere, like in center field.

A little more on Lackey from a previous writeup, but I think it fits well here:

“Given the front office’s familiarity with Lackey (as well as lefty front-man Jon Lester), you can understand why they’d at least check in. Although he’s now 37, Lackey has remained effective for the last several years, and, indeed, even reinvented himself throughout the course of the 2015 season to further improve on his effectiveness. As a pitching option who could come on a reasonable, shorter-term contract – even though he’d cost a draft pick – Lackey is interesting. For three straight post-Tommy John seasons, Lackey has posted FIPs and xFIPs in the 3.50 to 3.80 range (league average in those three years was in the 3.75 to 4.00 range), and been worth 2.4, 2.4, and 3.6 WAR. He’s pitched 189.1, 198.0, and 218.0 innings. His strikeout and walk rates have been virtually identical in those three years.”

UPDATE: Jesse Rogers and Bruce Miles add local confirmations to Rosenthal’s report. Lackey is signed, pending a physical.

UPDATE 2: Rosenthal clarified the signing amount, which is now reflected in his tweet above.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.