The right-hander seriously sucked it up in 2011, ending the season with a 12-12 record and 6.41 ERA. If he wasn't in his second of a five-year, $82.5 million contract -- at the age of 33 no less -- he would totally be a free agent right about now.
Spankin' new general manager Ben Cherington had this to say regarding Lackey's terrible season:
"[Lackey] pitched through circumstances this year that I don’t think any of us in this room can fully understand, and he got beat up for it a little bit along the way. This guy was dealing with some stuff both on the field and off the field that were really difficult. I thought he showed tremendous toughness pitching through that.”
One of these difficult offseason circumstances Cherington eluded to may have been Lackey filing for divorce from his wife, who has breast cancer. Yikes.
The general rehabilitation period from Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months. While many pitchers come back as if they have shiny new robot arms, others never pitch well again. Guess we'll see how Lackey is affected by the surgery in 2013!