Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey will have Tommy John surgery, new general manager Ben Cherington announced during his introductory news conference.
Lackey recently visited Dr. Lewis Yocum of California to have his right elbow examined after a disastrous 2011 season, according to a WEEI report. But his surgery could actually spell good news for the Red Sox.
Lackey was signed to a five-year, $82.5 million contract in 2009, but if he requires season-ending surgery at any point during that contract due to a pre-existing elbow condition, a contract option will be triggered to reduce Lackey's luxury tax value, according to WEEI.
If the surgery is season-ending, Lackey's contract should trigger a sixth year for the MLB minimum salary ($414,000), meaning his contract will be valued at roughly $13.8 million rather than $16.5 million for luxury tax purposes, perhaps saving the Red Sox millions of dollars in luxury tax.
Lackey finished last season with a 12-12 record and 6.41 ERA during 28 starts. His ERA was the worst in Red Sox history by a pitcher who threw at least 120 innings.
His season was also marred by controversy. Lackey was one of the pitchers mentioned in reports saying that some Red Sox drank beer, played video games and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.