The final inning thrown by John Lackey in his last outing brought him to 200 on the season, and that number has more meaning than just serving as a nice, round milestone, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As Goold reports, the Cardinals and Lackey reworked his 2015 contract so that he would earn a $400K bonus upon reaching 200 innings. Of course, Lackey’s 2015 salary will still be peanuts compared to his career earnings and the previous, $16.5MM annual salary on his five-year deal. That contract contained a clause that added a club option at the league minimum in the event that Lackey suffered a serious elbow injury, which he did midway through the deal when he required Tommy John surgery. Goold previously reported that Lackey would’ve earned $1.2MM in bonuses at 150 innings, so this next bonus figures to push him slightly over $400K when factoring in his $507K base. Even at ~$2.1MM, Lackey would be among the game’s best bargains. The 36-year-old has turned in a 2.79 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in his 200 innings this season.
Elsewhere in the NL Central…
- Eugenio Suarez has done a brilliant job filling in for injured Reds shortstop Zack Cozart since being recalled midway through the year, but there won’t be many at-bats for him at shortstop in 2016 when Cozart is back up to speed. The 24-year-old Suarez, though, is more than willing to switch positions to remain in the lineup, he tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. “If they need me at another position, I would try to play there,” said Suarez. “For me, the important thing is to play in the big leagues.” Manager Bryan Price said that he thinks both Cozart and Suarez can be regulars for the Reds in the future. Suarez, who was acquired in the lopsided trade that sent Alfredo Simon to Detroit, has batted .284/.321/.458 with 11 homers in 81 games with the Reds this season. In my recent Three Needs piece on the Reds, I suggested that Cincinnati look to move Brandon Phillips to open playing time for Suarez at second base. Failing that, the Reds could try him in left field.
- The Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson received excellent news on Thursday after Nelson was struck in the head by a 108-mph line drive, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. A CT scan somewhat incredibly revealed only a bruise, leaving the 26-year-old otherwise unscathed. Manager Craig Counsell wouldn’t commit to a plan of action for Nelson following the scare. Nelson has been one of Milwaukee’s most consistent starters in 2015, working to a 4.11 ERA (4.12 FIP, 4.07 xFIP) across 177 1/3 innings.