If There’s An Asshole In Your Rotation, Don’t Be Alarmed Now… It’s Just A Spring Clean For The May Queen
Guess you can pinpoint how I feel about John Lackey.
Ok, let’s do the surface stuff first. On the surface, the signing makes total sense. It’s not a long-term commitment, it really isn’t that much money for a mid-rotation starter Especially one that’s coming off a near 4-WAR season. He doesn’t walk anyone, and even a leveling out would see him be worth 2.5-WAR or so, which is hardly bad for a #3. It’ll look even better if Jason Hammel can find it again. He’s not exactly a ground-ball pitcher but sure does get enough of them and the strength of the defense is clearly going to be on the infield.
Secondly, on some level we have to appreciate a player leaving St. Louis to come here and how much Cardinals fans will be pissed off whenever he beats them. That hasn’t ever really happened before, at least I don’t remember it. Remember plenty going the other way for sure.
There are some surface concerns. Lackey isn’t as good as the numbers he put up last year. He’s not going to get a an 82% left-on-base percentage again. He’s probably going to give up more than 0.87 home runs per nine innings, though he’s had that mark before in his career but matching that at 37 seems a stretch. He’s somehow thrown his hardest the past three years and at some point that’s not going to last. But even these add up to a pitcher who is still going to be pretty good.
Now that’s all said… he’s still a raging asshole.
Lackey would have been a perfect fit on the Southside for sure. He was a pretty good fit in St. Louis where everything down to how you put on your fucking jock is a sacred process and to be taken with the utmost seriousness. So what’s he going to do the first time he sees that disco party after a win? I feel like his head might actually explode, revealing that it only contained a few cockroaches who are all smoking. What will he do if Starlin pulls that pantomime shit again just to have a laugh? Lackey will likely try to light his fart and send the flame over to Starlin on the mound. Schwarber catching him? Forget it. Soler misplaying a ball in right? The list goes on and on of things that could cause that rat face of his to turn into a full pout.
We can dismiss this as ancillary concerns. After all, Lester is a pretty intense guy and fit right in and happens to be a friend of Lackey’s. This is what you pay Joe Maddon for, someone to manage all these differing personalities. Though I want to be in on the conversation as Rizzo and Lester do all their cancer charity work as this dipshit who left his wife while she was battling cancer looks on. Someone record that.
But chemistry did matter to the Cubs last year. Look at how the insertion of one player completely blew up the Nationals last season. We saw it here with Milton Bradley (though a manager who wasn’t just sipping pina coladas like Piniella was at that point might have figured it out). The difference I guess is that Lackey is much more likely to produce than those two. It’s certainly an experiment.
It makes sense. The Cubs are a better team now than they were yesterday. They still have flexibility and options. But it sure don’t feel all that good. We have a lot of time to get used to it.
-Came out today that Javier Baez is going to play some center field in winter ball in Puerto Rico. I have this sneaking suspicion that it just might work? I wonder how much it’ll affect the Cubs plans? Could they afford to wait to see how it goes before deciding what to do? Hayward will probably have signed by then. Still, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on.