John Lackey | Boston Red Sox | @ Tampa Bay on Tuesday
Adding John Lackey is somewhat like having a huge bowl of ice cream 30 minutes before bed. You hate yourself and know it’s not really good for you. But you can’t help yourself can you? It’s hard to turn down a few scoops of your favorite flavor, and it’s hard to turn down a name you recognize that is currently attached to a 2.82 ERA and 3.23 xFIP.
Lackey has those numbers thanks to a 24.7% K% and 7.2% BB%. He can probably maintain a walk rate like that, but the K rate will likely regress. His swinging strike rate isn’t terrible at 8.1%, but he’s not going to strike out more than a batter per inning at that rate. And his velocity isn’t quite what it used to be. Expect him to settle in the 18%-19% range.
The matchup with Tampa actually isn’t great. They started slow, but they’re currently 4th in the league in wRC+ and lead the league in that category so far in May. But even if you decide to pass on Lackey on Tuesday, he’s worth picking up as a flier.
Hector Santiago | Chicago White Sox | @ Minnesota on Monday
Last week in this space, a commenter (Dancing Homer) suggested using Santiago at the Mets. Maybe Homer should be writing this piece because Santiago tossed seven scoreless innings while striking out eight and allowing just six base runners. That was Santiago’s second start of the season. In his first, he gave up one run in Texas while striking out six and allowing only four base runners over five and a third.
Santiago’s line for the season includes seven relief appearances; he has a sub-2.00 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP, and a 3.24 xFIP (3.68 SIERA). He has a touch of BABIP and LOB% regression coming, but with only 26.2 innings the regression shouldn’t cause too much damage. Aside from that and a short track record, Santiago doesn’t have a ton of red flags.
Ubaldo Jimenez | Cleveland Indians | Home to Seattle on Friday
Speaking of decisions for which you’ll hate yourself, adding Ubaldo is even more loathsome than adding Lackey. His ERA over the last two years has basically been 5.00, and it’s over that mark so far this year. I’m not going to embarrass myself and try to make a case for him. Although one could probably manipulate his xFIP, SIERA, and K% into some sort argument in his favor. But I won’t.
I’m simply taking the opportunity to point out that he’s widely available and facing a Mariners team that is 23rd in wRC+ on the road and 21st against righties. What I’m getting at is that the nicest thing I’m willing to say about Ubaldo is that the people he’s playing against next aren’t very good.