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Padres “have internally discussed” trading for John Lackey

Oct 20, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

John Lackey Reuters

San Diego’s front office is in a state of flux amid rumors that Theo Epstein could take various Padres staffers with him to the Cubs, but in the meantime they’re apparently talking about taking John Lackey off the Red Sox’s hands.

Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Padres “have internally discussed the possibility” of trading for Lackey if the Red Sox “agree to eat most of Lackey’s contract.”

Prior to becoming the Padres’ manager Bud Black was the Angels’ pitching coach and worked with Lackey, so that connection seems to be fueling reunion speculation. And from Lackey’s point of view switching from the AL to the NL and from Fenway Park to pitcher-friendly Petco Park would make getting his career back on track much easier.

What’s left on his contract will be a huge hurdle, however, as Lackey is still owed $15.25 million in each of the next three seasons for a total commitment of $45.75 million to a 33-year-old with a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts since the beginning of last season. If the Red Sox are interested in eating, say, two-thirds of that money while getting only a low-level prospect in return it could make some sense for the Padres.

  1. rollinghighwayblues - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Hmmm, if the Padres are that stupid to pay that man $15M to pitch for them,(I know the RS coughed up a precious bullion for him) then I wonder if they’ll agree to trading back Casey Kelly. I know, I know, wishful thinking. But I thought I’d never see the day where there would be any Lackey suitors out there so you never know.

    • b7p19 - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Did you read the article? There is no way in hell the Padres would pay Lackey $15 mil. The Sox would have to eat at least half of that and really get nothing of note in return.

      Basically, whether or not this would be good for the Padres depends solely on how badly the Sox want to be rid of Lackey. If the Pads can get him for 5-6 mil a year and just some midling prospects, then it’s worth it. He’ll eat innings and probably pitch much better in PETCO and back on the west coast AND with his old pitching coach in the dugout.

      • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        I am a realist. I realize the Sox will not agree to this crap, I said wishful thinking. I am not following your second and third sentences, if the RS eat 2/3 of his current contract, won’t that be $30M? Hence, leaving the remaining $15M to the Padres if the deal were to go through?

      • b7p19 - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:37 PM

        Per year. If the sox pay 2/3 of a $15 mil per year contract the pads would be paying $5 mil a year for him. You were talking total contract and I was talking per year. In that case I disagree that the Padres would be stupid to get Lackey for 3 year $15 mil. That is the kind of low risk, high reward gamble they need to be looking at.

  2. cur68 - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Padres could get him for fried chicken and beer I bet.

    But seriously, why would anyone want Lackey as anything other than a bullpen arm at this point, why? No bullpen arm is worth that kind of dough and that kind of baggage. The Sox are likely stuck with him and his contract or some part thereof. IMO the best thing to do with him should be concentrating on getting the most out of him as a long reliever rather than trying to foist him onto another team. To get at least some return for the massive investment they should probably keep him for at least half a season and see if he rebounds into form, then he might start again, or build up his value to the point they can unload him on some other sucker, er, other team.

    • b7p19 - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      I think he can still be a valuable part of the Sox as a back end starter. Overpaid, obviously, but I think having him as a 4 or 5 is better than paying most his salary and getting nothing in return for him.

  3. Ari Collins - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    I may be the only Sox fan saying this, but I think they should keep Lackey. He had a terrible season, but selling now would be selling low on a guy who still has the upside of a #3, in order to get nothing but some money in return, and needing to fill another rotation spot on a team that struggled with depth last year.

    Unless they’re going to sign two starters this offseason, it doesn’t make much sense to be getting rid of anyone. And this isn’t the offseason to load up on free agent starters anyway, when Hamels, Greinke, Cain, Marcum, Danks, Jonathan Sanchez and Anibal Sanchez all hit FA the year after.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      Damn…I just don’t know.

      I agree that he probably CAN’T possibly get any worse. He is a competitor, if nothing else, and will be trying to prove something next year. Hell, he may very well have a halfway decent bounce-back year.

      The bigger issue is his attitude. I just DO NOT LIKE the guy, never have, and I think he has a negative influence on the team.

      Now, I know that there are plenty of unlikeable players in pro sports whose on-field performances make putting up with them worthwhile, but Lackey takes it to a whole new level.

    • marshmallowsnake - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      Yes, Ari…I think you are. He needs to go. He can’t survive in that environment. He obviously went for the cash, and it was a bad choice for him, as he cannot survive there.

  4. SmackSaw - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Corona’s and burritos?

  5. pisano - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    This just proves how inept the Padres are as a team. First they trade one of the best hitters in the game for a handful of supposed prospects, and now they want the second coming of Gomer Pyle (Lackey) who most likely has an alcohol problem. If they do indeed trade for him, they can always make a beer vendor out of him because he’ll get his ass kicked on the pitching rubber.

    • jamie54 - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:38 PM

      No way Adrian would resign with them so your rant about trading him holds no water since all they would get is prospects anyway. Inept, just goes to show that if Epstein gets Hoyer, et al, to go to Chicago then there goes the ineptness, as you say and Chicago would be no better off which is yet to be proven. If the Lackey deal goes through it would be a means for him to get back to SoCal, reunited with Buddy, and away from the sports magnifying glass that is Boston but only if the Sox kick in $10 mill/year on that contract.

      • Kyle - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Yeah, this. Not to mention that Petco has a way of making mediocre, even plain bad pitchers look serviceable.

  6. DJ MC - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Looking through the comments above, its interesting that with all we know about park factors and the relative quality of leagues and divisions and the volatility of player careers and fly-ball pitchers and even the intangible factors of playing in difficult media and fan markets, people are so quick to dismiss this idea out of hand.

    If the Red Sox really want to rid themselves of that contract, the Padres likely could get them to pay much of it. He could easily turn things around back out west in an extreme pitchers’ park in a laid-back city in a weaker division of the weaker league.

    • b7p19 - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      Yep.

    • skeleteeth - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      Pretty much. Look what going to the NL West did for Lowe after getting repeatedly shellacked for much of 2004. Granted, he pitched in and/or won every deciding game in that post-season so maybe had started turning things around earlier but I could see much of the same happening to Lackey pitching under less pressure.

  7. pisano - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    You can put any spin on this you want to, but the fact remains Lackey’s a bum and the Padres could have made a better deal than they did for Gonzalez, they are HOPING one or two of these prospects make it. Another cheapskate deal the Padres made. There isn’t a park in baseball that will help Lackey at this stage of his career. Isn’t it a shock that the Angel’s let him walk? That team (Angel’s) knows a little about pitching and they didn’t want him, the Angel’s saw the writing on the wall.

    • DJ MC - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      Can you really declare your opinions as fact in such a manner (that the Gonzalez deal wasn’t good enough; that the Angels made a smart move when they just fired that GM) while also deriding actual facts (like the ones I mentioned) as spin?

      • pisano - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM

        I never said any of my post was fact, my opinion is Lackey is a bum and his stats will attest to that. As far as the Angel’s GM, I never mentioned him. I will always say the Gonzalez trade was one sided towards the Sox. Time will tell if these prospects pan out, but can anyone blame Gonzalez for wanting to be paid what the market will bring for a player like him? and he wasn’t going to get that money out of the Padres.

  8. btwicey - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Lol, good luck with that one.

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