Friday, September 30, 2011

John Lackey

I never really took it personally when Lackey left. Without a doubt, he was a tremendously important player in 2002, but he never really felt like an Angel. Orlando Cabrera possessed the qualities of leadership and team identity that Lackey never did despite coming up through Montreal's system and playing only 3 seasons with a Halo. I don't find much glee in Lackey's historically poor season despite his contribution to an epic Boston collapse, but I do think the results were predictable.

Jeff Weaver drew the ire of Angels fans during his brief stint with the team for his on-field histrionics and apparent lack of ability. Lackey possesses a similarly fragile psyche, one which seemed unlikely to make an effective transition to the deranged Boston sports environment. Indeed, after several months of poor pitching and persistent grumbling from the press, he blurted "everything in my life sucks right now." He finished the season with the worst ERA in Red Sox starting pitching history and is entering divorce proceedings with his wife. It also sounds like he's got a mouthful of marbles when he talks.

My suggestion for Lackey? I'm not sure if this is even possible, but he hasn't had a single positive experience in the last year, so perhaps it's worth a try. First, he needs to request a release from his contract. If this doesn't void the contract, then he should have it voided as well. He needs to fire his agent and start calling teams. He should pitch for one year at the major league minimum for any team not located in Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. I have no doubt that with the pressures of a huge contract and a rabid fan base removed, he will return to form and earn the top-tier pitcher label he lost this past season. I have to imagine he'd receive a universally positive welcome in Kansas City, Pittsburgh, or Houston.

If you don't like the way something's going, change it. I'm sure the Angels would be happy to have you again.

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