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John Lackey intends to honor contract and pitch at major league minimum salary in 2015

Aug 1, 2014, 9:27 PM EDT

John Lackey AP AP

The Cardinals acquired right-hander John Lackey from the Red Sox yesterday in exchange for outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly. While they paid a premium in order to land him, it’s impossible to look at this deal without taking Lackey’s contract into account.

When the Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract in December of 2009, they put a clause into the deal which specified that a club option for 2015 at the major league minimum salary ($500,000) would be added if he missed significant time with an elbow injury. That option was triggered after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011.

There’s been some speculation that Lackey would retire rather than play at the major league minimum next year or perhaps try to negotiate his deal, but he told reporters upon his arrival in St. Louis today that he intends to honor his contract.

Since his return from Tommy John surgery, Lackey has posted a 3.55 ERA over 50 starts while averaging 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Now you can see why the Cardinals paid a big price with Craig and Kelly. Not only did they acquire a good pitcher, they got a tremendous value.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    What a buttwad.

    Team pays him $17,000,000 not to pitch:
    “I’m not honoring that clause. I’d sooner retire.”

    Traded to a team who he owes nothing to:
    “Of course I’ll honor it. I was just, admittedly, being kind of a demanding jerkoff.”

    I hope his arm falls apart again.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      I know how you feel, but I don’t wish he would get hurt. I had heard about him saying he was going to retire rather than honor the contract. From a lot of sports sites including this one.
      I never did hear it from him.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        I just speak in abstract. I don’t actually hope he gets hurt. But I don’t hope he doesn’t not get hurt.

        I know it sounds odd but when someone is driving like a dick I say “I hope that guy dies” to get a reaction from my wife. I don’t actually want him to die but his buttholishness warrants no sympathy from me. I root for karma.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        tfbuckfutter,(I misspell that every time ) I personally think you can be one of the funniest people on here,but sometimes you can be kind of mean.I GET your humor,it is ALOT like mine.I am not as quick witted as you and as you can tell my writing skills suck though I am trying to improve.It just seems like you just want to be nasty in public,so to speak

        Please keep on doing what you do as I find it funny as hell. Just please never wish anyone any harm.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:07 AM

        I appreciate your kind words, slappy.

        I’m probably not going to change my manner of speaking and/or hoping. But if it’s any solace, individuals don’t actually have the ability to affect the physical realm with their attitudes no matter how hard they try, regardless of any coincidence that happens to occur.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:44 AM

      Please do not change.Like I said,I would have a beer with you any day(even go 2 to 1 buying)as I know you would make me laugh. Well worth it for the companionship for another Sox loss.I just sense sometimes you try to go for the easy laughs,and you can be mean.I think alot of I times I think like you(especially around the wife,She is a yankee,bills fan.,so yeah I get the outrage exclamations)and I would LOVE nothing better than to tell her Jeter killed someone tonight while DUI
      I just woul’nt because my wife would kick the crap out of me.I hope you have someone to keep you in check also.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:47 AM

        Also,please do not read all my comments for stalking.I just find you funny and we root for the same laundry.

    • dan1111 - Aug 2, 2014 at 3:36 AM

      Retiring and forgoing the remainder of one’s salary is a player’s contractual right. He wouldn’t be failing to honor the contract if he did that. It’s true that it wouldn’t be very nice. However, would the Red Sox ever go beyond what they are contractually obligated to do if they didn’t feel it was advantageous to them? No way.

      The Sox knew of this possibility when negotiating the contract. They were probably betting on the fact that Lackey would want to keep pitching so he could get his next payday (and they were probably right about that–I seriously doubt Lackey would have actually retired. He was probably just making noise to negotiate an extension or trade).

  2. serbingood - Aug 1, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    I don’t think at this point in his life it would really matter at what salary he receives in 2015. If he hasn’t made his Fort Knox by now, all hope is lost.

    Let’s see if the minimum wage offer actually plays out next year. $500,000 minimum wage, we should all be so unfortunate.

    • boogerhill - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      Jason Voorheis twin brother (without the mask!)!

  3. seanwasamarine - Aug 1, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Every player needs this clause in contracts.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      I don’t think the onus of not getting injured at work should be placed on the worker. I assume you have worker’s compensation insurance at your job. If you get injured at work, and collect your full salary, do you think it’s fair for you to have to work the same amount of time after you’re healthy for minimum wage?

      It’s a weird clause, however honoring it should never have been a question because it was negotiated into the contract. And obviously for a reason.

      • twinfan24 - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        Whenever clowns try to compare salaries and situations of pro athletes to regular working people, it sounds just as ridiculous as your argument. If my job paid me millions and I only had to work 8-12 years so I could retire fabulously weathly, I would have no problem making up for any missed time. But, I will be working until retirement age, not until my 30’s, so it is a moot point. Besides, how many people get enough sick or vacation pay to not have to work for an entire year if they do miss time with surgery? Ummmm, if not zero, it is incredibly close.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        It’s actually directly comparable if you can actually wrap your head around scale.

        Lackey signed a contract for $16,500,000 per year with the $500,000 clause in it.

        $16,500,000 is 33 times the value of the $500,000 clause.

        In “regular working people dollars” that means that you make 33 times minimum wage, or $239.50 per hour, or $497,640 a year.

        If you think anyone who makes $500,000 a year and gets Cancer, and has to take a year off work, with worker’s compensation covering that, and then come back to work the entire next year at 1/33 of their salary, doing the same job, for $15,000 a year, you’re nuts.

        And I’m assuming you don’t earn $497,640 a year.

        So based solely on his contract, Lackey’s performance is worth 33 times the major league average (more than that, I don’t know the average off hand, but just going on the basis that his option is “minimum wage”), and no one whose skill is valued at 33 times their peers is going to be “making up for any missed time.”

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Two corrections: major league minimum not average and cancer isn’t really a common occupational hazard so input whatever disability or condition can be considered a reasonable hazard of your employment.

      • dan1111 - Aug 2, 2014 at 3:31 AM

        There was no onus placed on Lackey. He voluntarily agreed to a contract that had this clause in it. If he didn’t want such a clause, he could have negotiated a contract without it, still making millions of dollars. However, he did not do so, probably because he got more money by choosing to take on (some of) the injury risk.

    • dsaverno - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      Don’t forget, that clause was worth serious money. He wouldn’t have made as much money without that clause. Having worker’s comp cat your job changes your salary. Options have real value.

      • NYTolstoy - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        The whole point is mute. Because he is not being paid by hour he is paid a salary that he agreed upon. Just like some law firms and buisness firms that give out contracts. when you sign on the dotted line you know what to expect. Being paid 500,000 is nothing to sneeze at. And he SHOULD play the year. He signed the damn thing. He’s a grown man and shouldn’t weasel out. Also I bet teams are waiting to see if he does go through with it. Maybe others will follow which I would like. Just so many injuries would be nice to see some of these guys play a year for cheap.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        @NYTolstoy I think what he was saying was that the Sox offered more money BECAUSE of the gamble that the option provided.

        So yes. He SHOULD play under the option because, even if it’s a bad option to have in the first place, it’s one he agreed to.

        But at the same time, as others have mentioned the amount of money he’s made over his career, I can completely understand saying “Ok, I only had a year or two left in me anyway, it’s just not worth it to play for that amount of money.” So I’d respect him playing under the option, I’d understand him retiring instead of playing for that amount near the end of his career, but I’d despise him for trying to force a more lucrative contract for this season (pursuing an extension that spread the valuation out is also reasonable though as long as he’s not trying to get $35,000,000 for the next two years, but rather $20-$25m).

        And not to be a dick, because I would actually want to be corrected on it, but it’s “moot”. Not “mute”.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:42 AM

        Also be aware you are suggesting that players injured in the line of work shouldn’t be compensated for the injuries sustained performing their duties.

        Which would be an interesting point to bring up in labor negotiations in any field.

        You do realize that but for the fact that they are pitching they wouldn’t sustain pitching related injuries, right? And that their mechanics are guided by coaches and trainers. So pitchers really don’t have much liability when it comes to getting injured. But you think they should be punished for sustaining them?

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:09 AM

        I tend to agree with you.I believe the sox paid him more money for the insuranse clause. Frankly I am suprised Oakland does’nt do this. Then again,maybe FA are not as easy to get in Oakland. I just hope that the sox play well enough to wreck the division so all play offs for the ALE are on the road.Also hope that the A’s go all the way. They deserve it.

  4. sixchr - Aug 1, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    I’ll still believe it when I see it.

  5. seanwasamarine - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    The wage of an average American is not even comparable to baseball player. So your point is dumb.

  6. seanwasamarine - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    $15,000 is not $500,000 moron

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:14 AM

      In the Army they taught us how to scale up or down during ASVABS,did they neglect the Marines?

  7. j0esixpack - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Lackey knows that they’d be fools not to offer him a one year extension at least that winds up paying him something closer to market value for both years

    He’s wise not to come across as an a-hole with your new team threatening to retire if they don’t pay him more

  8. sabatimus - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    I’ll believe that if it happens.

  9. 18thstreet - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Very smart clause Lackey and the Red Sox negotiated. I wonder if we’ll see any other teams offer it. Hasn’t happened yet, which makes me think not.

    The Red Sox also had a clever clause for Schilling. If he made weight, he’d get bonus checks. When he hurt his knee (I think it was his knee) he was unable to keep the weight off. Does anyone else remember this.

    As far as Lackey goes? I’ll believe it when I see it. I think he’s posturing for negotiating purposes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He should.

    • boogerhill - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Schilling cost the Sux nothing, he was always overweight, despite running his mouth all the time!

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        Eh, 2 WS’s. I will take it.

  10. The Bronx Bombers - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Mr. Lackey…

    I enjoyed watching the misery you inflicted on the Red Sox, it was real entertaining…

    • Caught Looking - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      I guess you didn’t watch the playoffs last season

      • pastabelly - Aug 2, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Why would he have watched last year’s post season when the Yankees didn’t qualify?

    • bbgraf08 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      Red Sox fan. Lackey was one of my favorite players on the team. Any “misery” he inflicted, he more than made up for. Must have entertained you greatly seeing him help the Sox win a World Series last year!

    • drewzducks - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      Are you Epstein or Horshack? Not quite as entertaining as the misery that CC and Alex have inflicted on your has beens. 2013 WS winning pitcher in the clinching game. Oh, the horror.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 2, 2014 at 4:47 AM

        It’s funny how you use the World Series to justify Lackey and then try to rip on A-Rod and CC, both of whom came up huge in the ’09 playoffs. CC had a 2.00 ERA and A-Rod slashed .365/.500/.808. Do rings wipe away all sins? Your choice.

      • drewzducks - Aug 2, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        Sorry Kev, but the Sox’ sin and 1 W.S. Title cost $80M. The Bombers twin sinners and 1 W.S. Title cost $544M. I think even Cashman can do that math.

  11. boogerhill - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    I think I could scrape by on $500,000!

  12. irishlad19 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    What’s the probability there will be some contract negotiations, salary changes this winter?

  13. seanwasamarine - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    I don’t care tfbuckfutter that you’re giving a ratio compared to an average person. It’s still a dumb argument because he’s already made an astronomical amount of money so even if he played for $1, no one would feel bad after all that money he has made. Except for you I guess.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Value is relative.

      Compared to a monkey you make good points.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:19 AM

      So if you won the lottery(you would certainly not earn it on a 20 year hitch as an E-3)you would forever work as a minimum wage cretin? Be an Walmart greeter because you’re bored?

    • danfrommv - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      The players association would feel bad, because playing for $1 is below the league minimum

  14. seanwasamarine - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    Compared to your mom, your wife was better.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      Epic burn, bro.

      Take a bow for that one.

      • j0esixpack - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Yeah, talk about “zing”. His WIFE??!!! Outrageous! I want to party with this guy!!!

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      Seriously though….

      I hope every dumbass up above who upvoted any of your comments is feeling incredible amounts of shame right now.

      You know who you are.

      • NYTolstoy - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:19 AM

        Why should people feel “Shame” for agreeing that lackey has made alot of money and not to compare a normal persons salary which is 90% of the country to a man who’s made 80 million dollars. If you’re speaking about him talking about your mom and wife then that seems like a personal problem. Not everyone else’s.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        I’d feel shame for agreeing with someone that posts “Compared to your mom, your wife was better.” on anything else.

        Because it is painfully unfunny and embarrassingly stupid. Which is indicative of the intelligence level of the poster. That I would have just finished agreeing with.

        “Well, this guy did just crap his pants in front of everyone….but I do still really like his take on the economy….aaaannndd now he’s wiping it on the walls….”

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        @seanwasamarine.I assume from your comments that you were probably not fit for selective service and no doubt got recycled multiple times during bootcamp, but it was really the best summer EVAH. Keep on living the dream on how you could have got the MOH if they just could have ignored your socio-pathy as a douchebag.

        You Sir, have been weighed and measured and been found lacking.Please just shut up and go back to PFT….. Please.

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        This guy’s no marine. He’s a c-ckscuking, pea brain, right wing bass turd. Nothing more.

    • renaado - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      You talkin and comparin about someone else’s family?

      That’s just very low of you, dude.

  15. toodrunktotastethischicken - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Guy made almost $80 Million in his career.

  16. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    You make a dumb comment about me, then I’ll give it right back.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      I hate to break it to you, but you have a lot of work to put in if you ever hope for your comments to ascend all the way up to the level of “dumb” from where they currently reside.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:43 AM

        A washout(most likely from reading his comments,he would have learned to respect his betters if he was still sean ISamarine)most likely,and he is just projecting his rage that football season has’nt started yet.Pay him no mind.

  17. yankeessuckameanone - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Yo tbbuckfutter, your dumbass comments about this article warrant a dumbass comment right back at you. Don’t get mad because you were the first one who looked like a damn fool.

  18. yankeessuckameanone - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    Poor guy got his feelers hurt :’-(

  19. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    I’m sorry that you were in the Army. I would have done that, but it’s way too easy.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      I was in the first Iraq war,where were you? Oh,probably too young.Were you in this one?Maybe I will have respect for you if you were, as the modern day soldier is way better than I was.Somehow I suspect you did not even make it through boot camp.If on the off chance you actually made it through Pierce Island I salute you. I did some Ranger training there. I was the guy who got on your base W/O
      going through your gate. Yes your wife was good,but your mom will always be MY Susan Sarandon.

  20. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:41 AM

    How cool would that be if you committed suicide. That sounds fun.

    • renaado - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      That’s goin too far now… I think it’d be best for you to shutup, if you have nothin better to say but stupid statements like this one.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:05 AM

        Thank you Renaado,but I got this…

        Thanks again.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:52 AM

      Seriously, did you buy an “Awful Internet Comments For Dummies” book?

      And before you epically burn me again using Chapter 1 from it, yes I am posting this from my mom’s basement while lamenting my virginity.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        You must still be up. I got your back on this one bro.Haters gonna hate.The marines bailed me out from more than a few tight jams,but this asshole is delusional. He want’s me to commit suicide so he does not have to go through life debating how he could not even pass the physical to join the F’n Marines to begin with.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      Do you know why the Navy Swabbies uniform has to unbutton at the crotch?It is a bib for seanWASamarine.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      Um, Craig? Remember when you started kicking people out?

      I have a nominee.

  21. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    Just got my honorable discharge in the mail last month buddy. 8 years

  22. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    Iraq twice. Hit and Fallujah…what now

  23. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    And no not Parris Island…San Diego.

    • kiwicricket - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      Hired goon.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 2, 2014 at 3:23 AM

      If what you say is true,Thank You.I admire your service to us all.But if not,are you not just getting angry for the pure excitement of just getting angry?In the ARMY they did not teach us that suicide is
      the quickest way out of all lifes absurdities.

  24. randomjoeblow - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Yeah right. He’s not going to pitch for the league minimum.

  25. seanwasamarine - Aug 2, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    It’s fun for me

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