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See you in 2013: John Lackey to have Tommy John surgery

Posted by Andy on October 25, 2011

A little news from Ben Cherington's introductory press conference as Red Sox GM: John Lackey is getting Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2012 season.

I've also heard that the Red Sox have insurance on Lackey's contract for this possibility, meaning a lot of sting is removed, at least for that massive 2012 salary. Not too bad, considering the guy just posted the worst season in history for a regular Red Sox starting pitcher.

26 Responses to “See you in 2013: John Lackey to have Tommy John surgery”

  1. » Tommy John News & Trends Says:

    [...] Links See you in 2013: John Lackey to have Tommy John surgery » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog... [...]

  2. John Autin Says:

    ... as BoSox fans ponder whether TJ surgery has ever proved fatal....

  3. Mike L Says:

    Watch out Cub's fans! Bud's "fair and balanced" compensation will have you taking on Lackey's contract, and then, Matt Garza gets shipped off to soothe the Red Sox pitching needs.

  4. John Autin Says:

    Imagine the glares if the surgeon messes up Lackey's procedure!

  5. Mike L Says:

    John A, are you suggesting the surgical team have a few in-game beers and some fried chicken while the procedure is being performed?

  6. Robert Says:

    @4: Unless Lackey ends up with two arms on the same side of his body, I don't think there'll be any way to tell if the surgeon messed up.

  7. Brian Says:

    ooh, then he could wear F-shirts instead of T-shirts!

  8. Zachary Says:

    I knew Lackey would be more productive in 2012!

  9. John Autin Says:

    "The John Lackey Fan Club, ladies & gentlemen!"

  10. John Autin Says:

    @6, Robert -- Seems more likely that Lackey will wake up with one foot in his mouth, and one of Terry Francona's cleats up his ....

  11. M Liss Says:

    Big news is that it activates the sixth year of Lackeys contract at league minimum. And saves Boston luxury tax!!! A veritable banquet of goodies.

  12. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Looking at his 2011 performance, it is obvious that Lackey needed something drastic to turn him around. What is the next step, if the TJ doesn't work? Voluntary castration?

  13. Mike L Says:

    You have to wonder what went on here. Lackey had known elbow problems when he came to the Red Sox, and he was on the DL in May, but there was no inkling of more troubles after that. Given the lead that Boston had in the late summer, he could easily have skipped a turn or two. His performance was horrible, but didn't seem to lack for fire-he hit 19 batters. You would have thought if he was in pain, he would have said something.

  14. Andy Says:

    There was discussion of Lackey needing Tommy John during the season in the June-July time frame, so this news is quite unsurprising.

  15. Mike L Says:

    @14, Andy-In late June, Peter Gammons reported it , "With all the problems with Lackey's elbow, is this guy going to end up needing Tommy John surgery before August? That's something they have to decide," said Gammons. ..I've had indications that there are some questions about just how healthy [Lackey is]. We know he was disabled with the elbow problem. We know he had the shot,"
    It was shot down by the club at the time (both Francona and Epstein). And I'm still surprised they wouldn't have shut him down in September if he was hurting. Anyway, it's moot.

  16. Jim Dunne Says:

    I can't help but think we'd all be better off if Lackey had this surgery in May. In the six years previous to this, he had a 3.65 ERA - the guy clearly wasn't right. Then, all of a sudden, the guy was the worst pitcher in the world, with no velocity, movement, or command. Another strike against the Red Sox medical/training staff.

  17. Mike Says:

    First Dice-K had TJ surgery, now Lackey. I knew the Red Sox pitching staff would be better in 2012!

  18. nightfly Says:

    Hey Beantowners, welcome to being a New York Mets fan! How many pitchers did the Mets have that decided to not tell anyone their arms were messed up, and wound up pitching like beer-league softballers? Oh, but at the end of the season, by the way, I need surgery and I'm missing NEXT year, too.

    We could call them the Braden Looper All-Stars.

    No, I'm not still bitter. Because shut up, that's why.

  19. Jason Says:

    @16-I agree.

    Lackey was in a no win situation this season.

    Being injured, there is no way he could have a
    productive season.

    If he were to shut it down early, he is then perceived
    as a quitter making 82 million dollars.

    If he shuts his mouth and pitches in pain, the performance
    suffers and he is perceived as a bust who makes 82
    million dollars.

    Or it could just be that he stinks like AJ Burnett.

    Those two are forever linked.

  20. John Autin Says:

    Caveat emptor: Boston signed Lackey to that 5-year deal at age 31, coming off a 2-year average of 26 starts, 176 IP and 117 ERA+ (compared to his previous 3-year average of 33 starts, 217 IP and 133 ERA+). He pitched the full season in 2010, but wasn't good, with a 99 ERA+ and career lows in SO/9 and SO/BB.

    The depth of his fall this year may have been shocking, but that he fell should not have been a surprise.

  21. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    Looking at the top of that list of highest ERA+ by Red Sox starters, I see several ERA's in the high three's (Dineen, Jones, Siebert, Young). Normally we'd think of an ERA in that range as good, even very good, so this a great remainder that context can make a huge difference.

    Siebert's mediocre ERA+ in 1972 may surprise some people - 1971 and especially 1972 were such down offensive years that the DH was introduced the next year.

  22. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @2 1 - when I wrote "highest ERA+", I actually meant "worst ERA+".

  23. Kirk Says:

    @20 - Isn't this the type of projection Theo's numbers should have caught? Go Cubs Go!!

  24. Mike L Says:

    Teams like the Red Sox and Yankees make signings like Lackey and Burnett because they can-they can outbid people for someone who isn't fantastic, figuring that with their powerful line-ups, you could be getting an 18 game winner. Here's a peculiar stat about Lackey. In 78 post season innings he's hit exactly one batter. Regular season, more than 4 times that rate. You wonder a little about this guy's head.

  25. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @24/ Mike L -
    "... Here's a peculiar stat about Lackey. In 78 post season innings he's hit exactly one batter. Regular season, more than 4 times that rate. You wonder a little about this guy's head."

    Mike, I don't think it has to do with his head, but more with "small sample size"; you could probably go through his regular season starts game-by-game, and find several stretches where he had only one HBP in 78 innings (regular season: about one HBP every 19 innings).

    That, plus in the postseason, _every_ batter is important, so you're less likely to deliberately put a batter on base.

  26. Mike L Says:

    @25, Lawrence. Could be. His walk rate during the post season is 3.3/9, regular season 3.1/9, not too much variation there. Might just be a coincidence.