Free agent starting pitcher John Lackey will not be retiring and intends to pitch in 2018, sources have told FanRag Sports. That comes despite some speculation from his Chicago Cubs teammates late in the 2017 season that it could be his last.
It’s unclear whether the result of the NLCS played any part in Lackey’s decision, but the ultra-competitive pitcher surely didn’t care for how things finished. Lackey’s final game was the Cubs’ Game 5 loss at Wrigley Field, with the Los Angeles Dodgers clinching the National League pennant. The 39-year-old right-hander threw two innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs. Lackey’s last appearance prior to that game was when he allowed the three-run, walk-off homer to Justin Turner in Game 2.
Lackey has had an interesting career. He made his debut with the Anaheim Angels back in 2002, going 9-4 with a 3.66 ERA in 18 starts. He was on the mound for Game 7 of the World Series as a rookie, throwing five innings in a 4-1 victory. Lackey eventually moved on to play for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cubs, winning another World Series ring in 2013 with Boston and then a third with Chicago in 2016.
Although Lackey posted a 3.35 ERA over 793.2 innings from 2013-16, his performance dropped off this season. He had a 4.59 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) over 170.2 innings, allowing a league-worst 36 home runs. He was relegated to an unfamiliar bullpen role in the playoffs. If Lackey never makes another appearance in the big leagues, Lackey will finish his career with a 188-147 record, a 3.92 ERA, and 2,294 strikeouts.