Boston Red Sox: Where Can They Turn If Beckett and Lackey Don't Return To Form?

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Boston Red Sox: Where Can They Turn If Beckett and Lackey Don't Return To Form?
J. Meric/Getty Images

One hundred and fifty million five hundred thousand dollars. That's an obscene amount of money. With that kind of cash, you could open thirty of your own Dunkin' Donuts franchises, buy the high school I attended, acquire all of the Honus Wagner rookie cards that may be left on Earth, and a Fenway Frank.

Or, if you're like the Red Sox, you craft a multi-year commitment to two pitchers that went a combined 20-17 with an ERA above five last year.

December 16th, 2010 could eventually go down in history as the first day Theo Epstein made a truly awful free agent signing when he inked John Lackey to a five year, $82.5 million dollar contract. Followers of the Theo Rules know that Epstein made a key exception when drafting up that deal: no big contracts that pay the players an exorbitant salary when they are upwards the age of 35. Lackey will be 37 by the time his deal is done, and he's due to make 15.25 million dollars that year. The track record for pitchers that late in their 40s is less than favorable. Unless your name is Cy Young, Satchel Paige, or Phil Niekro, there's really not much of a chance to dominate that close to the age of 40. The only three pitchers in recent memory that had nearly dominant years in their late 30s were Curt Schilling (fastball was starting to lose some life, however), Randy Johnson (who was a freak of nature), and Roger Clemens (yeah). While John Lackey will probably never break down due to his frame and fundamentally strong wind-up, it's a lot for us to expect that he will be a well above-average starter in 2016.

Josh Beckett signed a four year extension worth $68 million American dollars, the day after he laid an Opening Day egg (he threw 99 pitches in only 4.2 innings of work against the New York Yankees). At the time, the Nation was clamoring for a Josh Beckett extension, and he deserved one. Beckett was coming off a solid 2009 (following "The Beckett Pattern). What we didn't expect was that Beckett would find another way to struggle through a nagging injury, battling a bad back throughout all of 2010. At the end of the season, some of us were left wondering if Theo was becoming less like a God i and becoming more like a baseball Gob, forming a habit for huge mistakes.

The biggest concern emanating from the Fens is that John Lackey and Josh Beckett are trending downwards. No team has ever won the World Series with two under achievers in their starting rotation, so their concern is valid. Are Josh and John done? If so, what options would Boston have? 

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