Red Sox righty John Lackey will undergo Tommy John surgery, new GM Ben Cherington announced today. WEEI's Rob Bradford reported Lackey's visit to Dr. Lewis Yocum earlier today, noting that the surgery causes a sixth-year option to vest for Lackey at the league minimum. This is a good thing for Boston – it reduces the average annual value of the contract from $16.5MM to $13.8MM, creating luxury tax savings.
Lackey had a disastrous 2011 season. His 6.41 ERA was the sixth-highest in baseball history over the last sixty years, given a minimum of 160 innings. He had a rough year with the media as well.
The Red Sox likely were not counting on Lackey for anything in 2012, but the surgery eliminates any chance of a bad contract swap.