BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 19: John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as manager Terry Francona, not seen, walks to mound to remove Lacey during a game with the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park September 19, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
After today's examination of his elbow, John Lackey will have Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2012 season, according to Boston's new General Manager Ben Cherrington.
Cherrington, taking over as the new general manager for the Red Sox, announced the news during his introductory press conference just 45 minutes in. He added the team will be looking for buy-low starting pitcher opportunities.
Rob Bradford of WEEI broke down what the injury means to Lackey's contract and future with the Red Sox:
His (John Lackey) deal with Boston included a vesting option at the major league minimum (currently $414,000) for a sixth season if he required season-ending surgery on a pre-existing elbow condition. Such an operation would trigger the option, thus making the contract a six-year, $83 million deal - thus meaning that, for luxury tax purposes, his contract is valued at roughly $13.8 million rather than $16.5 million, something that could mean millions of dollars in luxury tax relief to the Sox.
Here's the story by Jeff Sullivan over at the mothership, where he points out that the surgery actually saves the club some money via injury clause:
He's now going to miss significant time after undergoing surgery to treat a pre-existing elbow injury. So that 2015 club option at the league minimum will vest, turning Lackey's five-year, $82.5 million contract into a six-year, roughly $83 million contract. For luxury tax purposes, that reduces Lackey's average annual value from $16.5 million to $13.8 million, giving the Red Sox greater flexibility and possibly saving them money.
Of course, we're talking about the Red Sox, but every million counts, right?