Chicago Cubs: Grading the offseason moves

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October 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) pitches the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game four of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

John Lackey

The Chicago Cubs pried another free agent away from the St. Louis Cardinals.

On Dec. 4, they signed veteran right-handed starter John Lackey to a two-year contract valued at $32 million.

The 37-year-old veteran, who has thrown in eight postseasons, posted a career-best 2.77 ERA in 218.0 innings of work last season. He has a career 3.11 ERA in 23 postseason games and won two World Series Championships, one in 2002 with the Angels and another one in 2013 with the Red Sox.

Grade: B

After initially indicating interest in the top free-agent arms on the market, the Chicago Cubs decided to “settle” with a second tier starter in John Lackey. This was a good decision.

The Cubs already have two aces on their roster in Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester; therefore, adding another ace would have been overkill. Lackey provides stability in the middle of a rotation that was inconsistent behind Arrieta and Lester.

One of the Cubs most pressing offseason needs was starting pitching depth and they addressed this need with Lackey. Additionally, Lackey is a proven quality performer in the postseason, something the Cubs need considering the expectation is a World Series Championship next season.

The most obvious red flag on Lackey is his age. It is unlikely that he repeats the 2.77 ERA that he posted in 2015. Prior to last season, he hadn’t posted an ERA below 3.50 for a single season since 2007. Additionally, despite the 2.77 ERA, his Fielding Independent Pitching ERA (FIP) was 3.57 suggesting that he was the beneficiary of some good defense behind him.

It is unrealistic to expect another sub-3.0 ERA from Lackey this season. It would go against the normal aging curve of MLB pitchers.

Lackey fills an obvious need (quality starting pitching) but he is a bit of a wildcard because of his age. This was a good move, but not a great move.

Next: Starlin Castro trade to the NY Yankees