If the St. Louis Cardinals want to keep free agent pitcher John Lackey, it’s going to cost them plenty.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Lackey’s strong 2015 season is expected to earn the right-hander a three-year contract worth $15-$20 million per season.
Sure, he has been a very good pitcher. But Lackey recently turned 37 and it’s rare for fastball pitchers to continue to succeed as they near 40.
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Lackey couldn’t be blamed for wanting a financial rebound after being forced to honor a clause in his last contract that required him to play a season at near the major league minimum salary because of an arm injury. But if his price and contract length is going to reach that high and long, the Redbirds shouldn’t waste time negotiating with him. They have other off-season fish to fry.
It would make more sense for the Cardinals to pick up Jaime Garcia’s option for one year at $11.5 million as opposed to paying a $500,000 buyout.
That would leave the team with a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Carlos Martinez and Garcia with Tyler Lyons, Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney in the wings, barring a trade or a free agent signing.