From reading this article, John Lackey would seem to be leaning toward free agency after the 2009 season, though he did express some “surprise” that the Angels haven’t initiated extension talks as of yet, perhaps implying that he’s interested in a current market price extension.
Lackey’s situation is interesting; he could probably sign a large extension right now, at market price, but he could also increase his asking price significantly after a strong 2009 season.
Of course, he could always stink up the joint in 2009, too, and cost himself all sorts of money.
Since Lackey is on record as stating that Angel personnel decisions would “absolutely” dictate his willingness to sign an extension, it’s hard to get an accurate read. Regardless, the Angels seem willing to open talks.
Lackey has never been shy about blaming his offense after tough losses, but his questionable postgame comments are often more a reflection of his intense competitiveness than any genuine animosity toward the team or his teammates, or at least that’s what we would hope.
Call us unpredictably optimistic, but we see Lackey’s allusions to free agency as gamesmanship and think (hope) that a deal gets done before the season begins.