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Heyman | John Lackey intends to pitch in 2018

Jon Heyman



Oct 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.