As much as the Los Angeles Dodgers need to be cognizant of re-signing Zack Greinke or acquiring another elite starter to slide behind Clatyon Kershaw, they must not overlook the backend of their rotation.
The starting staff currently projects to include Brett Anderson, Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood.
However, Ryu, while expected to be ready by Spring Training, is coming off season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum and in some regard is a question mark.
Brandon McCarthy, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May, isn’t likely to return until near the midway point of the 2016 season.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said adding pitching to the organization will be a point of focus this winter; not specifying if the club would set out to do so primarily via free agency or trade(s).
In a market flush with starting pitcher, the Dodgers are among the teams to have some contact with John Lackey, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 19, 2015
Lackey, 37, would certainly bring a veteran presence and World Series experience to the back of the Dodgers’ rotation, but he is also among the players who was extended the $15.8 million qualifying offer.
Friedman and the Dodgers’ front office have thus far placed a premium on draft picks, using their financial power to essentially buy them. Signing Lackey, who declined the St. Louis Cardinals’ qualifying offer, would require the Dodgers to forfeit their top pick in the 2016 draft.
Lackey is coming off his second, though first full season with the Cardinals. He tied a career high with 33 starts, going 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA, 3.57 FIP and 1.21 WHIP.
Lackey led the Cardinals with 33 starts and his 2.77 ERA was the lowest mark of his 13-year career. He saw an ever so minor decrease in his strikeout percentage, 19.7 percent in 2014 to 19.5 percent last season.
Additionally, Lackey walk’s rate was 5.9 percent last season, compared to 5.6 percent in 2014. He’s coming off a season in which he earned the Major League minimum salary due to a clause in a contract initially signed with the Boston Red Sox.