Analysis of the John Lackey Signing

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

After much speculation today, it looks like the deal is done. John Lackey is a Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative deal with right-handed pitcher John Lackey , pending a physical, on a deal worth slightly more than the five-year, $82.5 million dollar deal A.J. Burnett signed with the New York Yankees last year, a source familiar with the negotiations told's Jayson Stark.

Wow. Just six days after the Yankees acquire an all-star center fielder, the Red Sox go out and sign the best starting pitcher on the free agent market. Baseball's version of the Cold War continues.

Signing Lackey looks like a stellar move for the Red Sox. The addition of Lackey gives the Red Sox one of, if not the best rotations in all of baseball and one can honestly say that the Red Sox now have four "ace caliber" starting pitchers: Lackey, Beckett, Lester, and Mastsuzaka. On any given day, any of those four at their best can shut down an offense. That's a scary good starting rotation.

Some may look at the five years and more than $80 million that the Red Sox handed over to Lackey and think that contract is excessive, but for the Red Sox, it's not. Sure their are various risks that come along with this deal-Lackey's age and injury history come to mind-but this deal gives the Red Sox the best chance to compete in the American League, gives the Red Sox one of the best starting rotations out there, and gives the young Red Sox starting pitchers a leader, which is especially important if Josh Beckett leaves after next season. The Red Sox have the payroll to deal with a contract like this and the risks that come along with it.

In the end, the Red Sox decided that signing John Lackey was better than trading for Roy Halladay. Their reasoning: cost. If the Red Sox picked up Halladay, then they would have to not only part with top prospects and possibly Clay Buchholz, but they also would have to extend Halladay's contract as well. But by signing John Lackey, the Red Sox simply had to pay up and kept all of their top prospects. They now have to hope that the Yankees do not make an aggressive play for Halladay, who is rumored to be headed to the Phillies.

****What do you think of this signing for the Red Sox?****