White Sox: Would John Lackey Fit in the Starting Rotation?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: John Lackey
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: John Lackey /

The White Sox need to add starting pitching this offseason. Would they give John Lackey a look as a veteran presence? He was 12-12 with a 4.59 ERA for the Cubs in 2017.

The Chicago White Sox need to add some arms to their starting rotation. If Carson Fulmer earns a spot in the starting rotation, they will still need a fifth starter. And they would love to add a veteran arm to help mentor Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. James Shields could be a question mark because he’s just not pitched well and he dealt with injuries in 2017.

It may sound crazy but one guy who could fill that need is none other than John Lackey. The 39-year-old has spent the last two seasons pitching for the Cubs. He won two division titles and a World Series. When you hear guys talk about Lackey they talk about how much he does to help the youngsters.

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Lackey was mildly effective last season. He was 12-12 with a 4.59 ERA. In September he pitched much better. He had a 2.51 ERA that month. The right-hander wasn’t effective in the playoffs however as he was pitching in relief. And the talk was going into the postseason that Lackey would not be a good reliever.

It sounds crazy but Lackey would give the White Sox the veteran presence they desperately need. He’s one of those guys opposing teams hate but teammates love. It would be like having A.J. Pierzynski again.

It’s also important to note that he can still pitch effectively. He had some moments in 2017 where he looked dominant. Other times he looked bad. But he still pitched 170 innings and made 31 starts. Lackey would be ideal for a fifth starter. He may not win a lot of games but he could take the ball every fifth day and give a good effort. And he could eat some innings so the bullpen isn’t overworked.

Lackey did have a run in with the White Sox during the Crosstown series this past year. We all remember Hawk’s rant and then looking down the lineup card to see when he was due up. Likely because he wanted the White Sox to drill him. There may still be some hard feelings but if he could come in and help this team, all would be forgiven.

Next: Why Would White Sox Be The Right Fit for Shohei Ohtani?

While it seems good on paper, Lackey it towards the end of his career. And he had the famous ‘I’m not here for haircuts’ line. Meaning he wants to compete for championships at this late stage of his career. Still, if he has a limited market and teams don’t seem interested, the White Sox could swoop him and sign him to a one-year contract. He may not be a popular name but his veteran prowess could be a huge help for the young core of White Sox pitchers.