John Lackey: The Sox 82.5 Million Dollar Mistake?

Alexander PernaContributor IMay 13, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MAY 05:  John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox heads back to the mound after Erick Aybar and Torii Hunter of the Los Angeles Angels scored in the third inning on May 5, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has had his ups and downs while being the GM of the Red Sox.

The boy wonder has put together two World Series rosters and has only missed the playoffs three times in the nine seasons while Epstein has been in charge.

Epstein has made some brilliant moves in his tenure. He hit bombshell homeruns in acquiring players such as Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling.

Epstein has also made very questionable moves. Epstein struck out looking when acquiring players such as Matt Clement, Julio Lugo, Eric Gagne and Willy Mo Pena.

In 2010, Epstein inked John Lackey to a five-year, 82.5 million dollar contract.

At the time, the deal didn't look like it would disappoint. Lackey was coming off an 11-win season where he posted a 3.83 ERA, but was he really worth 16.5 million dollars a season?

In eight seasons with the Halos, Lackey earned 102 wins, had 1,201 strikeouts and posted a 3.81 ERA. The right-hander (a rookie at the time) was one of the biggest reasons the Angels were able to win game seven of the World Series in 2002.

In his first season with the Red Sox, Lackey posted an impressive 10-5 record and a 4.26 ERA during the first half of the 2010 season. Lackey's impressive start didn't last long when he would only win four more games in the second half of the season and finished with a 14-11 record and a 4.40 ERA.

Coming into the 2011 season, Lackey had lost 20 pounds and was a handed a big honor by the Sox skipper Terry Francona. Lackey was named the No.2 starter in the Sox rotation, starting in front of former ace Josh Beckett and youngster Clay Buchholz.

So far this season, Lackey has been one of the worst pitchers in major league baseball. The right-hander is surprisingly 2-5, has only 19 strikeouts, and has posted an 8.01 ERA. In seven starts this season, Lackey has given up at least six runs in four of those starts. Lackey has only pitched past the seventh inning one time so far this season.

This season, Lackey has been everything the Red Sox can't afford him to be. The worst part is if Lackey continues to struggle, he still has three years remaining on his big contract.

Starting pitchers in major league baseball are supposed to give you a chance to win every time they take the mound. Lackey has been the complete opposite this season and yelling at Carl Crawford last night against the Blue Jays because he didn't save the homerun you gave up, really shows where Lackey is right now.

With an inconsistent bullpen and an up and down offense, the Sox can't take much more of Lackey giving up eight runs a game.

One thing is clear, the Red Sox will not make the postseason if they're relying on John Lackey to win them games.