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John Lackey sticks up for “good guy” Josh Beckett

Aug 27, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Josh Beckett, John Lackey AP

Who better to discuss the Red Sox trading Josh Beckett than a pitcher most fans would like to see leave Boston too?

John Lackey, who was one of Beckett’s best friends on the team, told Rob Bradford of that the trade was a good move for everyone involved because “it had gone too far here for him” and “I don’t think it would have ever come back.”

And then Lackey stuck up for Beckett:

It’s baffling to me people write things that don’t even know the man. Guys write stuff who don’t know Josh. He’s a good guy. It’s too bad that it came to that. They write about the Beckett Bowl (charity event), that we were partying and stuff, but they raised $300,000 for Children’s Hospital that night. Throw something in there positive.

If he’s sensitive to the criticism Beckett received from the Boston media I can’t even imagine how Lackey feels about his own treatment in the press. Or among fans. Or anyone, really.

And if the Red Sox could have dumped Lackey’s contract along with the Beckett and Carl Crawford deals they surely would have jumped at the chance. Instead they still owe the rehabbing right-hander $15.25 million in 2013 and the same amount in 2014.

  1. daveydawg - Aug 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    They should just release this guy. Please.

  2. hokiegajanisgod - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Yes, Lackey has been a bust and whipping boy #2 for the Boston media since Theo signed/over-payed him.

    However he’s right about Beckett. The aforementioned Boston sportswriters actively insert themselves to create controversy every chance they get. Did Beckett and Lackey deserve some of the blame for last September’s collapse? Sure. But to vilify and sensationalize every little thing, good or bad? C’mon, that’s hack journalism at its worst.

    Is it possible to trade sportswriters like players? If so, Boston would need to eat 100% of their sportswriters salaries in perpetuity, and still probably would get no offers.

  3. 18thstreet - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Because Lackey has lost a significant time due to injury, the Red Sox get an extra year on the contract at league minimum. So it’s better to say that Lackey is owed $31 million over three years.

    This matters, because if he can show next Spring that he has anything left at all, that’s worth something in a trade. And since Lackey was hurt for much of 2011 (or at least claims he was, but the surgery certainly suggests he’s not lying), there’s reason to think he’d be an average pitcher in 2013.

    And average pitchers are worth $10 million a year. Take a look at Fangraphs (for 2011) to see whose seasons they calculated as being worth roughly that amount:

    The Red Sox might have something of value, and a salary dump may not be necessary.

    • djpostl - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      How do you get that he has to play a year at league minimum? Is it a clause in the deal & if so, let’s see a link please.

      • teefour - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        12/16/09: Signed five-year, $82.5 million contract w/ conditional option for 2015 (includes $3.5 million signing bonus). 2011: $15.25 million, 2012: $15.25 million, 2013: $15.25 million, 2014: $15.25 million. 2015 club option at Major League minimum if Lackey misses significant time with surgery for pre-existing elbow injury in 2010-14, $0.5M assignment bonus if traded; Award bonuses: $0.5M for MVP ($0.1M for 2nd-5th in vote); $0.1M for WS MVP; $75,000 for LCS MVP; $50,000 each for All Star, Gold Glove – click on the contract details pop-up.

      • KR - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        This link should help:

    • baseballbum - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      I agree. If he returns to form (and I believe he will), this will be a good deal for the Sox. This guy is a competitor and does not hide from the press. If the media can give him and the Sox some space, he will have 3 very good years for the Sox. That doesnt mean that they shouldnt go out and get one more good starter, a power hitter and a younger/former player manager.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        I think they should trade him (if he’s worth anything). I assume they’ll be ready for the playoffs by 2015. (They’re certainly not going in 2013, and I’m trying to be realistic about 2014.) They’d be paying him to be average in 2013 and 2014.

        Teams with playoff aspirations often seek out things like 4th starters at reasonable prices. Before he came to Boston, his career ERA was 3.81. I don’t think it’s crazy to think he could have an ERA of 4.00 again. The Dodgers were just willing to pay a lot more than $10 million a year to imagine Josh Beckett could.

    • townballblog - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      I agree. People hated Lackey while he was in Boston because he wasn’t pitching well. The media took a vendetta to him because he wouldn’t do interviews with them… Why? Because the immature children that they are they went on to write columns about his personal life and his troubles with his wife.

      That said, look at all of the videos of brawls involving Boston – Lackey is the first one there and always in the middle of it; he sticks up for his teammates on the field too. He’ll plunk a guy in a heart beat if one of his teammates was plunked.

      He veery well be a stud again next season. As people noted, he was having a bad season and the fact that he needed surgery was actually a relief, to him and the front office – it meant that he had a legitimate issue going on and not that he was a terrible pitcher.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        I’m very angry with him for not treating that injury sooner. The 2011 season ends differently if he made one more quality start, or had been replaced in the rotation by a AAA pitcher sooner.

        Also, he clearly wasn’t ready to start the year — gave up 9 and 6 runs in his first two starts. He was out of shape all year, and then he got hurt and didn’t tell anyone. That’s why I hate him.

      • teaspoon1731 - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        Honestly, I hated Lackey when he was with the Angels. I mean, I enjoyed watching his temper tantrums on the mound while the Sox hit everything he threw. But, while I’m a fan of passion, I’ve never been a fan of a grown man acting like a baby everytime he gives up a hit.

  4. xpensivewinos - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Boston has begun the process of re-shaping their entire roster and Lackey is part of the problem. Some of these guys in the clubhouse are toxic and he’s one of them. The Red Sox don’t need or want him around any of their good young pitchers and their newly found financial windfall makes it much more likely they’ll just dump him. This slate is going to be wiped clean.

    • hokiegajanisgod - Aug 27, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      From all accounts Lackey is well liked by all his teammates; he’s not ‘toxic’ at all.

      Its the Boston hack media that is portraying him as a bad guy.

  5. bigharold - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    He’s probably right about Beckett being a good guy and he’s clearly right about the outrageous things that were written about him. From the outside of the Nation looking in a lot of it seem opportunistic from the media. The whole “chicken a beer thing” was blown WAYYY out of proportion as a direct result of the media beating the story to death. I’d wager that the these guys didn’t start that activity in September of last year so where was the outrage when they were on fire from May through August and in first place. Didn’t Papelbon blow three saves in September? He was never part of the beer and chicken crowd but if he saves one of those games they’re in the playoffs, .. he saves two or all three they are the WC, collapse averted, .. no beer and chicken scandel. As much amusement as this Yankee fan has had watching the RS turn on each other the drama is getting tedious.

    In the short run the RS and the players they just traded will be better off because the situation was untenable. The RS, however, will take another two to three years to be a contender again. If, Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford or even Lacky are guilty of anything, aside from under performing to one degree or another, it’s their profound lack of awareness as public figures, . that what they say and how the comport themselves will be questioned always, especially in the provisional capital of sanctimony, Boston . The ironic thing is players like Jeter are often criticized for the bland “canned” responses. These guys are clearly either less polished or at least less aware of their public persona and they get hammered for saying what they really think. Try to get a straight answer out of a RS player in the next 15 years.

    I think it shows a certain amount integrity, .. or stupidity depending on ones point of view, .. that Lackey would defend Beckett considering they are no longer teammates and he is likely going to get absolutely drilled by the media and fans for it, .. which he has to know. Especially since he had a clause in his contract that allows the RS to extend him if he had major elbow surgery, .. at the league minimum, .. so Lackey will likely be around three more season. Unless he’s absolutely horrible the next two.

  6. willclarkgameface - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    John Lackey needs to realize that he too was supposed to be shipped out of town, but then the Dodgers woke up, making that THREE teams that want nothing to do with him (including the Angels).

    He’s a bozo and hasn’t been effective in YEARS.

    Shut up John, get healthy, and be ready to be put on parade next spring because YOU ARE NEXT.

  7. elmo - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Boston media is a big soap opera and Sox fans are a bunch of hyperventilating drama queens. Beckett’s suppsed sins are utterly trivial. Chicken and beer? Golf? Who the hell cares? As far as I can tell the only real issue with him is whether he can learn to spot his off-speed stuff now that he’s losing his fastball. Maybe he’ll adjust, maybe he’ll totally flame out, who knows? The rest is trivial crap magnified all out of proportion by the Boston media.

    • hokiegajanisgod - Aug 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I agree 100% with what elmo just posted above, especially the part about (some, not all) Sox fans are a bunch of hyperventilating drama queens.

  8. andrewproughcfe - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Former Boston sports heroes hate Boston fans and Boston media.


    Color me shocked.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      John Lackey was a Boston hero? What did I miss?

  9. randygnyc - Aug 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Lackey’s only contribution to the Red Sox this year? Arguing with Buchholz over who gets Beckett’s locker. Lackey came in on top because he claimed League seniority.

  10. aceshigh11 - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    You’re next, Gomer Pyle.

    Start packing.

  11. Glenn - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    In the guy’s favor, he is a very popular team mate. He has just pitched like crap in Boston and has horrible body language. He does want to pitch well and win.

    • teaspoon1731 - Aug 27, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      He also divorced his wife while she was battling breast cancer. That’s not generally the choice that will make someone likable.

  12. mornelithe - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I don’t really think anyone can deny the media feeding frenzy that has taken place this year regarding the Red Sox as a whole (I imagine Quinn’s telling of the tale of the USS Indianapolis in Jaws to be an appropriate comparison), I think Lackey’s forgetting that the people weren’t criticizing Beckett for having a charity event. People were criticizing all but 4 Red Sox players, for not attending Pesky’s funeral earlier that day…when they all showed up for Beckett Bowl that night.

    They got in at 4am, the funeral was at 11am. That’s 7 hours, most people are capable of functioning with 5-6 hours sleep on a daily basis. And these guys were on an off-day.

    Raising money for children is great, absolutely, but I feel that in this particular case, everyone is suspect in the Pesky funeral debacle. They should’ve been there, they had the opportunity, the ability, and as a TEAM should’ve been there if for no other reason than to support Ortiz who was very close to Pesky.

    They didn’t, and it’s indicative of how fragmented this team is, this year. Lackey would be smart to remember these things, because being a team, is important, in team sports.

  13. paperlions - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Boston (fans/media) has a problem with perception. They want every player to be fiery and emotional….but they also want them to shut up and quietly follow orders, otherwise they are considered clubhouse cancers. Well, when they aren’t happy with how things are being done, who are the first people to speak up? Those fiery emotional guys Red Sox fans want all of their players to be. You can’t have it both ways.

  14. wgward - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    The takeaway: Boston Red Sox management picked Bobby Valentine over the players.

    • bigharold - Aug 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Perhaps, .. for now. But, that is due in large part to the fact that they found another team to pick up a quarter of a billion dollars, (I know it’s actually 271 mil, but the Nation likes to use the billion word when denigrating the Yankees so I figured the’d appreciate it), in salary still owed to three of these players.

      Of course, in the off season when Valentine gets his cantankerous old behind thrown overboard, (or under the bus, .. you know how that RS FO do), .. it’ll be clear that the players were just first.

  15. pisano - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Those two pig (Lackey & Beckett) ate out of the same trough.

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