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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Villani: Red Sox should lock up John Lackey while they can | Boston Herald

Make Lackey play out his contract. If he decides to retire, as has been hinted, the Red Sox still hold his rights.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 12, 2014 at 08:29 AM | 189 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: john lackey, red sox

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   101. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4724805)
How do we know how much money he'll need to actually *try*?


We don't know that about anyone, I suppose.

   102. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4724807)
But if the Sox hold firm, I think Lackey decides to stay home at least through the first few months (just as we saw Drew do, albeit for different reasons), and wait until they come calling with a deal more favorable


I think an extension is far more likely than this scenario. If they can't agree on one, I think Lackey would be better off playing the year and hitting free agency than playing a game of brinksmanship when the other party has more leverage. And I don't think Lackey has any reason for spite to overcome his own self-interest in that scenario.
   103. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4724808)
It looks like people think he could retire, sit out 2015, then comeback and sign with another team. Is that true? (I see it debated but not settled above). My understanding is that if he retires mid-contract, the Sox retain his rights.


No, but he could sit out through mid-season, come back for half a year (at the prorated salary) and then be a free agent at the end of 2015.

I think an extension is far more likely than this scenario. If they can't agree on one, I think Lackey would be better off playing the year and hitting free agency than playing a game of brinksmanship when the other party has more leverage. And I don't think Lackey has any reason for spite to overcome his own self-interest in that scenario.


I think an extension (a short one) is far more likely as well. I just think your 25-30 percent chance of him playing for 500K is about 25-30 percentage points too high.


   104. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4724819)
Operation shutdown. Bell refused to compete for a job, left Spring Training, and spent the year on his yacht (literally) while cashing $4.5M in the Pirates checks.


The Mondesi comparison is better, since Bell didn't quit over dissatisfaction with his pay.

Also, they stopped paying him when he stopped showing up for work.
   105. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4724823)
It looks like people think he could retire, sit out 2015, then comeback and sign with another team. Is that true? (I see it debated but not settled above). My understanding is that if he retires mid-contract, the Sox retain his rights.


I spent more time yesterday than my boss would approve of hunting for that answer and I got nothing. I was hoping the Ryan Dempster situation would provide some clarity but no dice. It seems (emphasis "seems") that Dempster would be a free agent next year but that is not clear to me.
   106. pikepredator Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4724831)
I think an extension (a short one) is far more likely as well.


looks like we all agree on this. But from a gitcher-popcorn-ready perspective it will be more fun to watch what happens if they don't extend him!

OK here are my odds. Rubber meet road.

Extension (possibly extend & trade in favor of younger pitching): 75%
Retirement: 15%
Full year $500K: 10%
   107. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4724832)
I was hoping the Ryan Dempster situation would provide some clarity but no dice. It seems (emphasis "seems") that Dempster would be a free agent next year but that is not clear to me.


I'm not sure, but I think that might be assuming the Sox willingly grant him free agency, because they wouldn't want to resume the existing contract where it left off.
   108. bunyon Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4724836)
I spent more time yesterday than my boss would approve of hunting for that answer and I got nothing. I was hoping the Ryan Dempster situation would provide some clarity but no dice. It seems (emphasis "seems") that Dempster would be a free agent next year but that is not clear to me.

I'm (or, we're) more important than your boss. Keep digging.

(Seriously, interesting and thanks for the answer).
   109. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4724850)
I'm not sure, but I think that might be assuming the Sox willingly grant him free agency, because they wouldn't want to resume the existing contract where it left off.


Yeah that makes sense. Everything I read talked about Dempster as if he would have choices (it seems like the Chicago writers were particularly keen on the idea of him returning to the Cubs). Nowhere did it say anything obvious about him being a free agent because the year expired and your point makes sense.

OK here are my odds. Rubber meet road.


Extension: 95%
Full Year $500K: 5%

Truthfully I don't think retirement is something he seriously would consider.
   110. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4724872)
No, but he could sit out through mid-season, come back for half a year (at the prorated salary) and then be a free agent at the end of 2015.

Could he? I know we don't know as much as we'd like about the contract details. But wouldn't the Red Sox have to agree to this? Because if not, Lackey could retire before spring training and sit at home all year. Then the last week in September, he files his un-retirement papers and shows up at Fenway. He says he'll take the prorated salary of $20K for a week and then become a free agent since he fulfilled his contract.

I can't imagine that actually working, so I don't see how coming back in the middle of the year helps him without the Red Sox agreeing to it. Which if I was the Red Sox I wouldn't. I'd tell him in spring training that if he sits out at all we'll just see him next year.

I also don't imagine that Gil Meche can call up the Royals in early 2020 and say, "Hey, I know I'm 40 and haven't pitched in 7 years, but I'd like to re-instate my contract and come pitch for you. Hope you have my $11M ready."
   111. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4724886)
I'm not in favor Boston doing this, but it seems that if the Red Sox decided to blow up this season, they have several veterans who would be of interest to various contenders:

- Lester (if they thought he wouldn't resign, or if he was going to be too expensive)
- Lackey (cheap 2015 option, could try to work it out asn extension with acquiring team)
- Pierzynski (FA at the end of the year)
- Gomes (FA at the end of the year, bat against lefties)
- Drew (can you trade him to another team that would agree not to offer a QO at the end of the season?)
- Several bullpen arms of varying degrees of attractiveness (Breslow, Miller, Badenhop, Capuano)
- Ross (if you simply want a good glove, clubhouse guy, backup catcher, leader, blah, blah)

Understand - I don't think Boston would get much of anything back for these players, except for salary relief. If they packaged one or more of these guys with a starting pitching prospect (like, say, Barnes or Ranaudo), you might be able to get back a position player prospect similar in attractiveness to the prospect you trade. Trading the veteran might be the "honey" needed to make a prospect-for-prospect trade.

While the Red Sox minor-league system has a lot of interesting prospects, they are lopsided in certain areas, and lacking in others. Boston has many solid starting pitching prospects, two catching prospects, several middle infield prospects, etc., but lacks outfield prospects. Being able to use these veteran players, along with legitimate Boston prospects, may allow the team to get balance in its pipeline. Maybe.
   112. Accent Shallow Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4724887)
Bell never got paid for Operation Shutdown? I thought he did.

That's good, I guess.
   113. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4724892)
Could he? I know we don't know as much as we'd like about the contract details. But wouldn't the Red Sox have to agree to this? Because if not, Lackey could retire before spring training and sit at home all year. Then the last week in September, he files his un-retirement papers and shows up at Fenway. He says he'll take the prorated salary of $20K for a week and then become a free agent since he fulfilled his contract.


I would think there would have to be some leeway here. If Lackey decides after one week of the regular season that retirement wasn't a good idea, can the Sox simply say, "No, you can wait until 2016?" I'm not sure that would fly either.
   114. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4724897)
Bell never got paid for Operation Shutdown? I thought he did.

Wikipedia says he did.
   115. Baldrick Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4724905)
I'm not really interested in prognosticating how this plays out. All I'm interested in saying is: F this guy if he thinks it's beneath his dignity to play for the contractually-agreed amount. You don't want to play for 500,000? Don't sign the freaking contract! If he hadn't agreed to this clause, he would have got less money.

Let's say the contract over five years without the clause would have been 78 million instead of 82.5. Well, that means he would be pitching in 2014 for the 500,000, plus the 4.5 million he got paid extra for offering this insurance. So it's 5 million, and was a gamble you made. Maybe the numbers are different, but there is certainly some extra salary he got over the life of this contract in exchange for having this option built in.

If he seriously would be willing to retire, obviously this structure gives him more leverage. And you can always try and exercise your leverage to force new contracts (see: every European soccer player ever). But the attempt to make a moral case out of this is irritating to say the least.
   116. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4724906)
I would think there would have to be some leeway here. If Lackey decides after one week of the regular season that retirement wasn't a good idea, can the Sox simply say, "No, you can wait until 2016?" I'm not sure that would fly either.

You're right. But I could see the Red Sox arguing that they've made their rotation plans and set their budget based on Lackey not being there and it's not fair that they have to take him back. Obviously in this particular case the budget is irrelevant, but in the Gil Meche case it could have completely hosed the Royals.

I'd be interested to know the rules.
   117. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4724910)
I'm not really interested in prognosticating how this plays out. All I'm interested in saying is: F this guy if he thinks it's beneath his dignity to play for the contractually-agreed amount. You don't want to play for 500,000? Don't sign the freaking contract! If he hadn't agreed to this clause, he would have got less money.

Do you get mad when teams offer pre-arb players deals that pay them way below expected value for their arb and early FA years? I don't understand why fans would get angry at a player for using his leverage, but not at teams for using theirs.

Business is business. Lackey has every right to extract as much money as he can from the Red Sox using his leverage.
   118. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4724917)

If he seriously would be willing to retire, obviously this structure gives him more leverage. And you can always try and exercise your leverage to force new contracts (see: every European soccer player ever). But the attempt to make a moral case out of this is irritating to say the least.


It seems that it's mostly Yankee fans in the thread who are hoping that a moral case will be made out of this, and are grasping at straws trying to paint a possible outcome as the Sox screwing over a player.

It's not quite as bizarre as the time the Sox were supposedly screwing over Aaron Cook by .... calling him up from the minors and putting him in the starting rotation (/Oh the humanity!).
   119. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4724918)
Here is the text of the CBA regarding retired players:

With regard to any Player who is on the Disqualified List for
a reason other than that stated in paragraph 1 above, or is on the Sus-
pended, Ineligible, Voluntarily Retired or Military List, the Club
shall not be obligated to tender or renew a Contract until the Player
is removed from such List and reinstated to active status. If a Player
is removed from such List during a period beginning 10 days prior
to the tender date set forth in Article XX(A) and extending through
the next championship season, the Club shall tender a Contract to
him within 10 days following such removal. Thereafter, should the
Club and the Player fail to agree upon the terms of a new Contract
within 10 days after the Player’s receipt of the tendered contract, the
Club shall be obligated, within the next 5 days, to renew the Player’s
prior Major League Contract; provided, however, that if the tender
is made during the period beginning 10 days prior to the tender date
set forth in Article XX(A) and ending on the next March 1, the
renewal period shall be as set forth in paragraph 10(a) of the Uni-
form Player’s Contract. Should a Club fail to tender or renew a Con-
tract as provided in this paragraph, the Player shall become a free
agent without any restrictions or qualifications.
   120. Baldrick Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4724933)
Do you get mad when teams offer pre-arb players deals that pay them way below expected value for their arb and early FA years? I don't understand why fans would get angry at a player for using his leverage, but not at teams for using theirs.

Business is business. Lackey has every right to extract as much money as he can from the Red Sox using his leverage.

That is not remotely analogous. The arb structure is unfair since it imposes restrictions on the player's ability to bargain. And I'm not 'angry at Lackey' for trying to get a better deal. He's free to try. But he doesn't DESERVE anything more, and it's ridiculous to act affronted at the idea of being asked to meet the terms of the contract you freely signed.
   121. Ziggy Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM (#4724935)
I wish I understood that bit of the CBA.

Anyways, in regards to this:

"Extension: 95%
Full Year $500K: 5%

Truthfully I don't think retirement is something he seriously would consider."


If retirement isn't something he would seriously consider, the odds are 100% that he plays for $500k (unless the Sox actually want an extension), because without the threat of retirement he hasn't got any leverage.
   122. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4724952)
Business is business.


Business is business, but abiding by a contract signed as a free agent is an insult?
   123. DKDC Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4724958)
No, but calling it an insult is part of a negotiating strategy. Which is just business.
   124. dave h Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4724969)
The details are in Rule 15 and Rule 16. I don't have time to link and such now, but basically he'd go on the restricted list, and the Sox would retain his rights. He could "un-retire" before the season or early in the season (but not within 60 days of his initial retirement) and the Sox would have to reinstate him within 30 days. He cannot unretire after August 1. Not sure whether he would be FA at the end of that year or not, if he didn't play the full year.
   125. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4724970)
Business is business, but abiding by a contract signed as a free agent is an insult?

No, but calling it an insult is part of a negotiating strategy. Which is just business.


Concur.

Also, his contract doesn't say he has to pitch for the Red Sox, just that they have his rights if he wants to pitch in MLB.

Retiring, or threatening to retire, is nothing close to breach of contract.

   126. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4724975)
You're right. But I could see the Red Sox arguing that they've made their rotation plans and set their budget based on Lackey not being there and it's not fair that they have to take him back. Obviously in this particular case the budget is irrelevant, but in the Gil Meche case it could have completely hosed the Royals.


Presumably teams can simply renounce rights to any player who has been retired for X amount of time, thus granting him free agency. So I don't think Meche's case is that comparable. The issue here is the Red Sox wouldn't want to renounce Lackey's rights at any point for the foreseeable future, due to the team-friendly nature of the contract.

   127. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4724982)
As far as I can see, that still gives Lackey the option of showing up next season and throwing every pitch over the catcher's head until he is benched or released. If benched, it's equivalent to being retired, except that he does become a free agent at the end of the season.

The Red Sox could sue him for breach of contract if they feel the tank job is blatant, but they couldn't get more than $500K damages from him.
   128. bunyon Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4724988)
@127: Yes, he could do that. I'd guess no one signs him or, if they do, it is at a huge discount.
   129. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4724993)
As far as I can see, that still gives Lackey the option of showing up next season and throwing every pitch over the catcher's head until he is benched or released.


But what would his motivation be for doing this? He would be harming his own position, for revenge ... when he doesn't have a motive for revenge in the first place.
   130. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4724994)
No, but calling it an insult is part of a negotiating strategy. Which is just business.


Concur.


So what was all that stuff on the first page about Lackey feeling insulted? You really meant that he would just pretend to be insulted? The Sox should just hand him 5 extra million to assuage fake discontentment?

That's even more ridiculous than assuaging unwarranted discontentment.
   131. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4725008)
So what was all that stuff on the first page about Lackey feeling insulted? You really meant that he would just pretend to be insulted? The Sox should just hand him 5 extra million to assuage fake discontentment?

That's even more ridiculous than assuaging unwarranted discontentment.


He might feel insulted, we don't know. There might have been an understanding, or he might have felt there was an understanding, to re-negotiate if the minimum option triggered. We just don't know what he thinks.

But, neither do the Red Sox. That's his leverage.

Why are you so exercised about this? Why do you care if Lackey sucks a few extra million out of the Red Sox?

You act like you have to pay the extra money personally.
   132. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: June 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4725012)
I keep scanning the headline as "Red Sox should lock up the Villain John Lackey" in hot topics.

Carry on.
   133. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4725024)
Why are you so exercised about this? Why do you care if Lackey sucks a few extra million out of the Red Sox?


Ha. Sorry if it seems that way. Maybe my tone is coming across different than I intend. I find this stuff interesting. Don't you think your posts are at least slightly giving off a whiff of wishcasting that the Sox don't have as much of an asset as they appear to?
   134. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4725066)
Ha. Sorry if it seems that way. Maybe my tone is coming across different than I intend. I find this stuff interesting. Don't you think your posts are at least slightly giving off a whiff of wishcasting that the Sox don't have as much of an asset as they appear to?

No. The Sox will be equally good if they pay Lackey $10M or $5M or $500K in 2015. Their "payroll constraints" are strictly self-imposed. The extra few million they toss him to make him feel better will not impact their roster construction one iota.

The only way the Sox have less of an asset is if they follow a hard-line approach, which I seriously doubt they do.

Ironically, it is the Red Sox fans advocating the approach that might depreciate their asset.
   135. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4725080)
Ironically, it is the Red Sox fans advocating the approach that might depreciate their asset.


I ain't no dirty Yankee fan.

   136. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4725089)
I ain't no dirty Yankee fan.

Sorry, not all of them.

I should have said "it is Red Sox fans".
   137. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4725091)
If retirement isn't something he would seriously consider, the odds are 100% that he plays for $500k (unless the Sox actually want an extension), because without the threat of retirement he hasn't got any leverage.


Just because he has virtually no leverage doesn't mean the Sox aren't going to give him an extension.

Unless I missed it no one in this thread has come out and answered the earlier question of what he is likely to do by saying they expect him to play for $500K. Nate was asked the question fairly on and immediately asked for odds. My thinking (and I think SoSH and a few others) is not a function of whether it is right or wrong that the Sox will give him an extension merely that it is the likeliest outcome.
   138. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4725096)
No. The Sox will be equally good if they pay Lackey $10M or $5M or $500K in 2015. Their "payroll constraints" are strictly self-imposed. The extra few million they toss him to make him feel better will not impact their roster construction one iota.

The only way the Sox have less of an asset is if they follow a hard-line approach, which I seriously doubt they do.

Ironically, it is the Red Sox fans advocating the approach that might depreciate their asset.


I apologize in advance if I am misunderstanding, but this is nonsensical. All teams' payroll constraints are self-imposed aren't they? That doesn't make them any less real. If the Sox set their payroll at roughly $160m, increasing Lackey's salary doesn't automatically increase their budget to $165m (or whatever). Otherwise that would apply to any acquisition and they wouldn't bother setting a payroll level in the first place. Money spent on one player is money they can't spend on another. Otherwise they could have paid Ellsbury $35 million a year to stay.

Your plan of changing an existing 1-year contract for the minimum to a 1-year contract at $5-7 million devalues the asset without question.
   139. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4725104)
Unless I missed it no one in this thread has come out and answered the earlier question of what he is likely to do by saying they expect him to play for $500K. Nate was asked the question fairly on and immediately asked for odds.


Hey, I thought I was asking that question, not being asked it!

If the Sox tell him they will not negotiate anything, and stick to it, I think he is likely to play under the contract as is. I willingly admit that other outcomes are entirely possible.
   140. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4725114)
As soon as these contract terms became public, I knew we were all going to be here arguing this. Was this a Theo contract? Besides World Series titles, I think of his Boston time as "too clever by half" contracts and trade proposals.
   141. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4725115)

@127: Yes, he could do that. I'd guess no one signs him or, if they do, it is at a huge discount.


Michael Vick got millions after torturing dogs. Short of injury, I don't think there's much a player can do to hurt his stock. Somebody will be desperate enough to pay him. Besides, the Red Sox would release him rather than deal with it.
   142. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4725123)
I apologize in advance if I am misunderstanding, but this is nonsensical. All teams' payroll constraints are self-imposed aren't they? That doesn't make them any less real. If the Sox set their payroll at roughly $160m, increasing Lackey's salary doesn't automatically increase their budget to $165m (or whatever). Otherwise that would apply to any acquisition and they wouldn't bother setting a payroll level in the first place. Money spent on one player is money they can't spend on another. Otherwise they could have paid Ellsbury $35 million a year to stay.

Your plan of changing an existing 1-year contract for the minimum to a 1-year contract at $5-7 million devalues the asset without question.


No, some teams really can't spend more without losing money. The Red Sox are wildly profitable at $160M or $165M.

If Cherington goes to ownership and says "I need to expand the budget by $5M to keep lackey happy and productive", he'll get the $5M.

Who cares about the economic value of Lackey as an asset? As a fan of an opposing team, all I care about is the talent on the Red Sox's roster. Some sabremetric fans seem like they would rather have a 90 win team with a $100M payroll than a 97 win team with a $200M payroll. Screw payroll efficiency, I want the Yankees to sign every great player they can fit on the field.

As a Yankee fan, I hope the Red Sox play hardball, and Lackey sits out half the season, and then returns fat and out-of-shape, and pitches to a 7 ERA. But rationally, I know that won't happen. Both side have every reason to compromise on an extension or bonus of some sort.
   143. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4725126)
As soon as these contract terms became public, I knew we were all going to be here arguing this. Was this a Theo contract? Besides World Series titles, I think of his Boston time as "too clever by half" contracts and trade proposals.


It would have been a real mess if it was in any way ambiguous whether or not the option was triggered.
   144. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4725132)
No, some teams really can't spend more without losing money. The Red Sox are wildly profitable at $160M or $165M.

Irrelevant.
If Cherington goes to ownership and says "I need to expand the budget by $5M to keep lackey happy and productive", he'll get the $5M.

You are making that up. If Cherington could expand the budget every time he wanted, he wouldn't have a budget in the first place, Jon Lester would already have a signed extension in place, and the Sox payroll would be way over $200m.

Who cares about the economic value of Lackey as an asset? As a fan of an opposing team, all I care about is the talent on the Red Sox's roster.

One is obviously related to the other.
   145. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4725134)
As soon as these contract terms became public, I knew we were all going to be here arguing this. Was this a Theo contract? Besides World Series titles, I think of his Boston time as "too clever by half" contracts and trade proposals.


While disagreeing with Nate and others about what WILL happen I think Theo deserves pretty major points for this one. He has put the Sox in a situation where they have a very good chance to get a pretty good pitcher at an awfully favorable rate.
   146. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4725137)
Irrelevant.

How is that irrelevant? The Red Sox can spend more, which is a pre-requisite to spending more.

You are making that up. If Cherington could expand the budget every time he wanted, he wouldn't have a budget in the first place, Jon Lester would already have a signed extension in place, and the Sox payroll would be way over $200m.

This happens all the time. Budgets are tapped out, until some opportunity or problem arises, and then the GM asks ownership for more money.

I mean, Atlanta didn't have $14M free in their budget before 3 starting pitchers got hurt, and then all of a sudden they did have $14M to sign Ervin Santana.

One is obviously related to the other.

And the Red Sox stupidly limit their spending and limit their talent. Any excuse Cherington has to wheedle a higher budget out of ownership is good for Red Sox fans, not bad.

If I were a Sox fan, I'd be pissed they didn't match the Yankees and Dodgers payroll. They clearly have the resources to do so.
   147. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4725144)
If I were a Sox fan, I'd be pissed they didn't match the Yankees and Dodgers payroll. They clearly have the resources to do so.


The Sox have won 3 World Series in the last ten years which is two more than those two teams combined. As a season ticket holder who spends a fair amount of his disposable income on the Red Sox it is rather difficult to get particularly angry.
   148. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4725145)
Do you think Cherington would rather not deal with this issue that his predecessor left for him? I think that it's a fraught situation, and maybe combustible.
   149. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4725151)
I guess I was too quick to dismiss that it was concern-trolling. Jeesh, I'll chalk it up to a bad day.
   150. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4725154)
The Sox have won 3 World Series in the last ten years which is two more than those two teams combined. As a season ticket holder who spends a fair amount of his disposable income on the Red Sox it is rather difficult to get particularly angry.

Sure, but do you think an extra $50M in payroll would have made them worse?

Also, why would you be happy or angry at the Red Sox based on playoff results? Do you really think ownership or the GM have anything to do with success in the playoffs?

The Red Sox have been incredibly lucky in the postseason the last 10 years, the Yankees have been unlucky (while they were lucky in 1996-2000). That's the only thing driving the number of titles.
   151. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4725160)
If I were a Sox fan, I'd be pissed they didn't match the Yankees and Dodgers payroll. They clearly have the resources to do so.


I've never understood this line of thinking from some of the site's Yankee fans. The Yankees have the resources to outspend the Sox. If the Sox aren't spending as much as they can, the same would apply to the men in Lucifer's Pajamas (likewise, if Boston suddenly started spending up to the Yankee level, wouldn't the Yankees just start spending a little more?).

Pretty much every team has a self-proscribed budget limit, established for any number of reasons. Why is Boston's the one that should draw the ire of its fans?


That's the only thing driving the number of titles.


Haven't I warned you about unleashing your inner Ray. It's not that simple.

Boston was the best team in baseball at the end of 2004*, it was the best team in baseball throughout 2007 and, the Sox were in the mix for that honor in 2013. Luck will always play a role, but not every playoff result is 100 percent shot crap.

Look at it this way: The 2000 Yankee title was a hell of a lot more luck-driven than the 1998 one was.

* The Sox were better than the Yankees by the end of 2004, but lucky to get past them. Likewise, the Yankees were better than the Sox (by a healthier margin) in the 2003 playoffs, and also lucky to advance.

   152. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4725176)
Haven't I warned you about unleashing your inner Ray. It's not that simple.

Boston was the best team in baseball at the end of 2004, it was the best team in baseball throughout 2007 and, the Sox were in the mix for that honor in 2010. Luck will always play a role, but not every playoff result is 100 percent shot crap.

Look at it this way: The 2010 Yankee title was a hell of a lot more luck-driven than the 1998 one was.


And Seattle was the best team in 2001. The best team rarely wins. The 2001-2006 Yankees averaged around 98-99 wins, and had nothing to show for it. #### happens.

   153. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4725178)
double

   154. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4725180)
Also, why would you be happy or angry at the Red Sox based on playoff results? Do you really think ownership or the GM have anything to do with success in the playoffs?


Because winning the World Series is fun.

But take that out of it. The Sox have been a very good, competitive team on an annual basis during this ownership's tenure. They have employed a great many players for long periods that were great players and a lot of fun to root for. As a fan the last decade has been about as good as I could ever have hoped a decade would be as a Red Sox fan. They haven't been perfect but I'm not going to sit here and whine that they should have spent an extra $20 million when they've been successful. I've never felt like the Sox disappointments in this era were the fault of not spending, just of decision making. I can live with that.


Do you think Cherington would rather not deal with this issue that his predecessor left for him? I think that it's a fraught situation, and maybe combustible.


Just as I don't expect Lackey to play for the minimum next year I don't expect this situation to be any kind of distraction at any point.
   155. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 13, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4725182)
While disagreeing with Nate and others about what WILL happen I think Theo deserves pretty major points for this one. He has put the Sox in a situation where they have a very good chance to get a pretty good pitcher at an awfully favorable rate.


But was it worth paying $31m for 160 bad innings in 2011-12 to get that chance?
   156. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4725192)
The best team rarely wins.


That's simply not true. The best team doesn't always wins, but it frequently does.

Since 2004:

2004 - Red Sox, no (I think, and thought at the time, they were the best team in baseball once the playoffs started, but that's too complicated so I'll defer to W-L here).
2005 - White Sox, yes
2006 - Cardinals, no
2007 - Red Sox, yes
2008 - Phillies, no,
2009 - Yankees, yes
2010 - Giants, no
2011 - Cardinals, no
2012 - Giants, no
2013 - Red Sox, yes (the flip side to the 2004 team, best record, but I didn't think they were first in class at the dawn of the playoffs).

That's four times in the last 10 years that the best team emerged from a field of eight. That's not rarely.

   157. dave h Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4725229)
I would just like to point out that a lot of the arguments in this thread are entirely fabricated. Lackey can't retire just for a year. He also can't just randomly unretire when it would most screw the Red Sox - there are conditions to him coming back after retirement. Also, the idea that he would pitch like crap just to screw the Sox is preposterous - he would be tanking his next FA contract, which is presumably the only reason he's pitching at all and not taking the retirement option.

EDIT: Also the question "Why should we be happy with the Red Sox for winning the World Series recently" is ridiculous, but I assume it is not meant seriously.
   158. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 13, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4725240)
But was it worth paying $31m for 160 bad innings in 2011-12 to get that chance?


No of course not. The deal hasn't been perfect but the Sox will get a benefit that teams rarely get on this type of deal.
   159. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4725261)
That's simply not true. The best team doesn't always wins, but it frequently does.

Since 2004:

2004 - Red Sox, no (I think, and thought at the time, they were the best team in baseball once the playoffs started, but that's too complicated so I'll defer to W-L here).
2005 - White Sox, yes
2006 - Cardinals, no
2007 - Red Sox, yes
2008 - Phillies, no,
2009 - Yankees, yes
2010 - Giants, no
2011 - Cardinals, no
2012 - Giants, no
2013 - Red Sox, yes (the flip side to the 2004 team, best record, but I didn't think they were first in class at the dawn of the playoffs).

That's four times in the last 10 years that the best team emerged from a field of eight. That's not rarely.


In 2005 the Cards has a better record than the White Sox, 100 W to 99.

In 2007, the Red Sox were tied with Clev. at 96 wins, with NYY and LAA close behind at 94

Last year, the Red Sox were tied at 97 wins with StL, with Oak and Atl right behind at 96.

So, three of your 4 yesses are disputable.
   160. tfbg9 Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4725313)
Let's go to the pythags!
   161. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4725315)
Why are you so exercised about this? Why all the twisted logic just for the assertion that despite all the regular season wins, playoff appearances, World Series Championships, top-5 payrolls every year, and healthy farm system, Sox fans should be pissed at the Red Sox?
   162. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4725321)
Let's go to the pythags!

I can see the Pythag Flags underlying in the wind!
   163. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4725350)
In 2005 the Cards has a better record than the White Sox, 100 W to 99.


The AL was vastly superior to the NL in 2005. The White Sox were the best team.

In 2007, the Red Sox were tied with Clev. at 96 wins, with NYY and LAA close behind at 94


Boston was the best team from beginning to end (that was the debut of the pants pissers, worried that the Sox lax approach to the end of the season would cost them the division title). Not arguable.

Last year, the Red Sox were tied at 97 wins with StL, with Oak and Atl right behind at 96.


I'll grant that one (and did). I didn't think the Sox, even at 97 wins, were the best team when the season ended. But that offsets 2004, when they were.

So, three of your 4 yesses are disputable.


In that case, some of the nos were as well.

The outcome of a single baseball game, or series, is far less predictable than sports such as football or basketball. That's obvious. But we tend to go overboard around here in the application of that idea. Luck is just one factor of many.

Was some degree of luck involved in the Sox winning three of the last 10 WS titles? Of course. Was it 'the only thing driving these titles?' Only a dimwit would state that, and you're not a dimwit.

   164. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4725351)
Why are you so exercised about this? Why all the twisted logic just for the assertion that despite all the regular season wins, playoff appearances, World Series Championships, top-5 payrolls every year, and healthy farm system, Sox fans should be pissed at the Red Sox?

Not saying they should be pissed, just that I find it funny that Red Sox fans find pleasur in them keeping a lower budget than other huge market teams.
   165. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4725367)
So, I did a little work to check Sosh's claims. I looked at every season since the 3 divisions and this is what I get.

Year/Best Team/Win Total/Next Highest Win Total/WS Winner Wins/Did best team win?
'95/Cle/100/90/90/No
'96/Cle/99/96/92/No
'97/Atl/101/98/92/No
'98/NYY/114/106/114/YES
'99/Atl/103/100/98/No
'00/SF/97/95/87/No
'01/Sea/116/95/92/No
'02/NYY&Oak;/103/103/99 No
'03/NYY&Atl;/101/101/91 No
'04/StL/105/101/98/No
'05/StL/100/99/99/Unclear
'06/NYY&NYM;/97/97/83/No
'07/Bos&Cle;/96/96/96/Unclear
'08/LAA/100/97/92/No
'09/NYY/103/97/103/YES
'10/Phi/97/96/92/No
'11/Phi/102/97/90/No
'12/Wash/98/97/94/No
'13/Bos&StL;/97/97/97/Unclear

So, out of 19 seasons, only 2 had the clear best team winning, and in 3 the winner was among the best teams, but the best team was unclear.
   166. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4725369)

Not saying they should be pissed

No, but you would be, if you were a Sox fan. Okay, those are technically different, otherwise you would have been nearing the record for most times contradicting oneself in a single baseball-related thread.

just that I find it funny that Red Sox fans find pleasur in them keeping a lower budget than other huge market teams.

Another thing totally made up. If the Sox have Lackey at $.5 million next year instead of $7m, they have more money to spend on other players and are (potentially) better on the field, and therefore they have a chance to win more games. That is very simple and obvious stuff. Winning games is where we find pleasure instead of payroll comparisons with the Dodgers.
   167. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4725374)
Not saying they should be pissed,


You do realize there's a record of these things.

If I were a Sox fan, I'd be pissed they didn't match the Yankees and Dodgers payroll.

I just that I find it funny that Red Sox fans find pleasur in them keeping a lower budget than other huge market teams.


Personally, since it ain't my money, I find more joy in the Sox beating the rest of the clubs by doing things smarter and better, rather than bludgeoning them with payroll. Of course, that's easier to say when the club's won three WS rings in the past decade.

Of course, if you were remotely interested in being consistent in all of this, you should be incensed that your deep pockets club is getting outspent by the ####### Dodgers, from goddamned L.A. of all places. But you're not, because this bizarre hang-up some Yankee fans have about the Sox keeping down payroll has never been about applying logic to things.
   168. AROM Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:51 PM (#4725384)
No, but he could sit out through mid-season, come back for half a year (at the prorated salary) and then be a free agent at the end of 2015.


What if he comes back on September 25th? Is he then a free agent? Or could the Red Sox refuse to take him off the restricted list and hold his rights to 2016?
   169. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4725392)
You do realize there's a record of these things.

If I were a Sox fan, I'd be pissed they didn't match the Yankees and Dodgers payroll.


Right, that's me. Not saying you should be pissed, or that you're somehow wrong for not being pissed, I'm just saying I would be.
   170. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4725397)
Of course, if you were remotely interested in being consistent in all of this, you should be incensed that your deep pockets club is getting outspent by the ####### Dodgers, from goddamned L.A. of all places. But you're not, because this bizarre hang-up some Yankee fans have about the Sox keeping down payroll has never been about applying logic to things.

I do wish the Yankees would spend more. I wanted them to add Drew, and another SP. I was hoping they'd add Morales before the Twins got him. They've really missed out on the Cuban defectors.

They've been stuck at the same payroll level for 10 years. They could and should clearly push it higher.

I also think they should adopt the Imperial March as their intro music rather than the Rebel theme. I embrace being the bad guy.
   171. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4725406)
I wanted them to add Drew


Me too.
   172. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4725407)
Right, that's me. Not saying you should be pissed, or that you're somehow wrong for not being pissed, I'm just saying I would be.


That's a pretty thin rope you're stepping out on there, snappy.

I do wish the Yankees would spend more. I wanted them to add Drew, and another SP. I was hoping they'd add Morales before the Twins got him.


So why do you single out the Sox on this matter (because you've written a hell of a lot more about the Sox artifically keeping payroll down than any other team, including your own)?

   173. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4725472)
If retirement isn't something he would seriously consider, the odds are 100% that he plays for $500k (unless the Sox actually want an extension), because without the threat of retirement he hasn't got any leverage.

Lackey has a lot of leverage if he wants to use it. To begin with, he can indicate he might retire but will decide by the reporting day (or later). Do the Red Sox want that much uncertainty about the availability of their #3 starter? Waiting for Lackey to make up his mind will foreclose other options. If Lackey does a full Brett Favre, Boston will have to decide if they want to pay to end the uncertainty. And if Lackey really doesn't want to play for the minimum, despite the Red Sox insistence, all he has to do is pitch poorly in spring training - not throwing everything to the backstop, just frequently right down they middle. What's Boston going to do, keep him in the rotation out of spite? Eventually, the Red Sox would release him, and all Lackey has to do is pitch effectively in a tryout to get the pitching-short teams interested. He might not get a big multi-year deal, but teams in need would pay a lot more than $500K to have an effective John Lackey.

Now maybe Lackey just sucks it up and says a contract is a contract, give me the $500K, but I don't think that is likely, and there are so many downsides to the Red Sox if they overplay their hand, I think it's unlikely they do so. If they want Lackey back, they'll try to use their leverage to work out a new deal. If Lackey pitches so poorly they don't want him - which doesn't seem to be the case at the moment - they'll just cut him.
   174. dave h Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4725489)
I feel like I'm on mute.

What if he comes back on September 25th? Is he then a free agent? Or could the Red Sox refuse to take him off the restricted list and hold his rights to 2016?


Rule 16. If he requests to be taken off the restricted list after August 1, the Sox can ignore him. If he requests earlier, they can wait up to a month. He cannot request within 60 days of retiring. (So I guess the math works out for him to wait until Opening Day, retire, then before August 1 ask to be reactivated. After those shenanigans, I doubt many other teams would be particularly interested in him, nor would the Sox take any public relations hit in playing hardball with him.)

And if Lackey really doesn't want to play for the minimum, despite the Red Sox insistence, all he has to do is pitch poorly in spring training - not throwing everything to the backstop, just frequently right down they middle.


What does Lackey gain out of this? In this scenario the reason he's not retiring or pitching with his current contract is because he wants more money. How does tanking it, in whatever creative way he does it, help him get a greater FA contract? The Red Sox have no history of cutting bait with a SP in a small sample size - they'll start him some, put him in the bullpen, DL him, before they outright release him. By the time he "earns" his release, he'll have a tough time making too much in 2015. And then even if he pitches well for the remainder of the year, his next FA contract will take a significant hit.
   175. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4725506)
I am always amazed at the twisted logic that some posters here will use in trying to defend unethical (and perhaps even immoral) means by which players should try to extract more money from their teams. Now we've got someone suggesting that Lackey should tank his performance in the spring training in order to put pressure on the Sox' front office to give him a better deal. Really? Is that really something that any player should do to make up for the fact that he willingly signed an unfavorable contract (or included an unfavorable clause in the deal)? Is that really what you're going to base your argument on?

Of course, these are the same people who scream bloody murder if anyone ever suggests that a team would even consider voiding a contract based on some moral failing or illegal activity. What a ludicrous and indefensible double standard.

Sign the contract. Live up to the contract.
   176. tfbg9 Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4725508)
@165: If you define "clearly the best team in MLB won the WS that year" by saying such a team must possess both bbref's best pythag and SRS that season , then we have 3 since '95:

1998 Yanks, 2002 Angels, and the 2007 Red Sox.
   177. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4725512)
And if Lackey really doesn't want to play for the minimum, despite the Red Sox insistence, all he has to do is pitch poorly in spring training - not throwing everything to the backstop, just frequently right down they middle. What's Boston going to do, keep him in the rotation out of spite?


Well, I don't think the Sox should act in spite, but at least they would have a reason for it if he tanks. What would be his reason for spite which would cause him to tank in the first place? Pitching well would be more in his self-interest, in terms of money, legacy, reputation, and his competitive nature.

Also, improving an already agreed upon contract without getting something in return is very rare. Would the Sox really want to take that unusual step for a guy who hasn't been underpaid relative to performance and who is (supposedly) willing to sabotage them?
   178. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4725515)
(So I guess the math works out for him to wait until Opening Day, retire, then before August 1 ask to be reactivated. After those shenanigans, I doubt many other teams would be particularly interested in him, nor would the Sox take any public relations hit in playing hardball with him.)


Wouldn't he be able to announce his retirement any time after the final day of the season, then simply reconsider any time between Opening Day and Aug. 1. That's not very shenaniganny.

And, as I understand it, there are two scenarios that would be in play if he does come back: the Sox have agreed to some kind of deal with him, either to extend him/trade him, etc., in which case there's no need for hardball tactics. Or Lackey is simply going to play out the rest of the prorated one-year deal, in which case there's no opportunity for hardball tactics. The only "hard" thing the Sox could do would be to release him, which would work in Lackey's favor.

But I agree the idea that Lackey has any incentive to intentionally perform poorly is absurd. About the worst that could happen is that he agrees to come back at the 500K number and doesn't come into camp/the regular season in the proper physical condition due to his dissatisfaction with his deal. But that wouldn't help Lackey or the Sox.
   179. tfbg9 Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4725520)
Sign the contract. Live up to the contract.


Yep.
   180. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4725527)
Is that really something that any player should do to make up for the fact that he willingly signed an unfavorable contract (or included an unfavorable clause in the deal)?


What's even more amazing that, unless he is the best pitcher in baseball over the next 1.5 seasons, the contract wouldn't even have been an unfavorable one! It's just front-loaded, which is better for the player than the opposite.
   181. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4725601)
So why do you single out the Sox on this matter (because you've written a hell of a lot more about the Sox artifically keeping payroll down than any other team, including your own)?

As far as I know, the Red Sox are the only large market team that adheres to a fairly strict payroll threshold. Most other team will deviate, and go above their preferred level when necessary. e.g. the Yankees went over their planned budget this year when Tanaka became available it became clear that they needed him to compete.

Plus, it's fun needling Sox fans :-)
   182. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4725609)
As far as I know, the Red Sox are the only large market team that adheres to a fairly strict payroll threshold.


This would almost be a reasonable answer if it were, you know, true.

The Red Sox payroll has actually moved in a much larger band than the Yankees (and numerous other big market teams) over the last half-dozen years, and, of course, it's also been consistently above most other big market teams. Hey, but cheer up, you've got that needling thing to fall back on. Granted, the needling kind of loses some of its effect when you're talking out of your ass, but what are you going to do.

   183. Nasty Nate Posted: June 13, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4725625)
We're witnesing a new level of self-contradiction here I think. Cherington can just add to the payroll whenever he wants but also the sox never deviate from the payroll when necesary. Bravo sir.
   184. dave h Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4725660)
Wouldn't he be able to announce his retirement any time after the final day of the season, then simply reconsider any time between Opening Day and Aug. 1. That's not very shenaniganny.


Given that his motivation would be pretty obvious, it's quite shenaniganny. Also, the proposal in #173 has him waiting until Opening Day as "leverage" to get a better deal. Hardball would be for them to make him play out the year at the prorated salary, and I think it'll be easy to justify that to the media/fans. I'm not even sure if that works, because I don't know how much of the year you have to play to count as a contract year. In the NFL, Vincent Jackson had to play 6 games in order to advance his FA clock, but I haven't found anything for MLB.

Snapper is pretty obviously trolling at this point, I think it's time to ignore him.
   185. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4725682)
Also, the proposal in #173 has him waiting until Opening Day as "leverage" to get a better deal.


Yeah, but that was Clapper, who's just spewing nonsense.

As far as leverage goes, the threat of not playing is the leverage. I'd say it's more real if he announces it at the end of October 2014 than on Opening Day 2015 (and obviously it's better for him, as it allows him to come back whenever he wants, rather than have to wait).

Hardball would be for them to make him play out the year at the prorated salary, and I think it'll be easy to justify that to the media/fans.


It will be very easy to justify it to media/fans (provided, of course, the Sox don't suffer some rotation injuries in early 2015, which could very easily put considerable external pressure on the club). I don't know that this exerts any additional pressure on Lackey.

I offered coming back midway through the season, at his prorated salary, as his fallback position for Lackey, a situation which would presumably count as his year's commitment but would reduce the amount of time he's playing under the 2015 figure (and, probably just as important to him, keeping him out of Spring Training) and also reduce the value for the Sox. Also reduces some wear and tear on his arm.

And, of course, the problem with the Sox playing hardball with an AWOL Lackey is, while it hurts Lackey, it prevents them from getting value out of their asset. It's a non-zero sum game.

I'm not even sure if that works, because I don't know how much of the year you have to play to count as a contract year.


I don't know how it could work otherwise. It's not like he can be granted contractual free agency in June.

   186. dave h Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4725691)
Well in the NFL, if you don't play six games it's just like you played zero. Holdouts are pretty non-existent in MLB so I'm not sure how it works. Maybe no one does - it might require arbitration. Meanwhile, Lackey is probably still costing himself dollars on his next contract.
   187. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2014 at 01:35 AM (#4725734)
Sign the contract. Live up to the contract.

As has been pointed out several times, Lackey "lives up to the contract" if he retires. There is no contractual way to force him to pitch for the Red Sox. He will have to forego the $500,000 and stay retired if they don't come to an agreement but as long as he takes the mound (when healthy) while receiving a paycheck, he is living up to the contract.

As has been pointed out several times, it makes no sense from the Red Sox perspective to let him retire (or sit out half a season or whatever).

Since it seems financially rational for Lackey to at least threaten to retire rather than pitch for $500 K and since it seems financially rational for the Red Sox to want him to pitch for them in 2015 (and 2016, etc.) or to trade him to someone who does want him, it seems the most likely outcome is an agreement between the two parties.

If Lackey was a guy whose arm had fallen off, hadn't pitched in 2013 and 2014, then the Sox would have no incentive and Lackey would have no leverage.

I'm not sure I've seen anyone say Lackey SHOULD tank, they have simply pointed out the fact that it would be stupid for the Red Sox to take this chance. Even if it's not (consciously) intentional, the performance of dissatisfied employees, short-timers, etc. often tanks. It seems most firms these days have come to the realization that if you fire somebody, you remove them from the premises immediately rather than give notice -- they still get paid for the 2 weeks (or whatever) in terms of notice but it simply makes no sense for the firm to give them the opportunity to steal files or even just to spend those two weeks ######## and saying goodbye.

So letting Lackey pitch on $500 K purely for the purpose of fulfilling his contract so he can get the F out of there and sign with another team would be a substantial risk from the Sox perspective.

But I'm not as confident as others here that Lackey won't play next year for $500 K. If the game of chicken goes on long enough, Lackey might well be the one to give in.
   188. Nasty Nate Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4725779)
I'm not sure I've seen anyone say Lackey SHOULD tank, they have simply pointed out the fact that it would be stupid for the Red Sox to take this chance. Even if it's not (consciously) intentional, the performance of dissatisfied employees, short-timers, etc. often tanks. It seems most firms these days have come to the realization that if you fire somebody, you remove them from the premises immediately rather than give notice -- they still get paid for the 2 weeks (or whatever) in terms of notice but it simply makes no sense for the firm to give them the opportunity to steal files or even just to spend those two weeks ######## and saying goodbye.


I am not so convinced that we should assume that Lackey will be a dissatisfied employee. Why? Every year lots of guys play w/o a deal with their current team past the end of the season, and for less money than they are worth. E.G. Koji and Lester this year. Yes, often teams do try to make them happy by negotiating extensions. But when they don't reach an agreement, people don't usually worry about their motivation because the players are professionals, they like being successful on the field, and they want to increase their chances for a new contract. All of those things apply to Lackey - assuming he is not leaning towards retirement.

Now, people may think that because it's .... the minimum (// shocked gasp //) for his 2015 salary, that Lackey's situation is incomparable to other underpaid vets. But isn't the scale of underpayment not that different from Scherzer this year, Adrian Gonzalez in 2011, Pujols in his last year with the Cardinals, Cano last year, etc? I never head anyone suggest it was risky to have those players on the team.

Why should we assume that Lackey won't think that he was essentially paid $15m for 2015 - but just 3 years early?

Carlos Delgado signed an unusually back-loaded contract with the Marlins. In the first year he was paid $4m. Now, of course this wouldn't make him unhappy, he wouldn't think to himself "Screw this team! I'm a superstar, and I made $19m last year, this is an insult and is undignified!" He wouldn't be mad because he agreed to structure the deal that way and he knew that the big bucks were on the way. Now isn't it possible (I'm only claiming possible) that Lackey knows that he agreed to structure his deal the way it is and that he has already gotten the big bucks portion of the deal?
   189. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 14, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4725915)
Some additional evidence that the Red Sox are fully aware of the potential down-side to holding Lackey to the minimum salary terms of his contract:
John Lackey has also made news regarding his contract. Lackey is under contract to play for just $500,000 next season due to his missing a season because of injury, but the pitcher recently expressed opposition to playing for such little money. Lucchino said he’d like to have Lackey back next season but doesn’t know whether or not it’ll be for $500,000.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Lucchino said. “John Lackey has been a tremendous contributor to this team this year and last. And we love having him here, and we’d like to have him here for a longer period of time. We’ll see when the time comes to negotiate whether there should be a playing out of the contract, whether there should be renegotiation with an extension. We’re open to a variety of possibilities.”

Pretty clear signal there. If Lackey finishes the season healthy & effective, there are a lot of incentives to re-work his deal, and many disincentives to sticking to the minimum salary contract. If they can't get a new deal done, they aren't communicating very well.
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