John Lackey, John Lackey, John Lackey. Are you tired of hearing about him yet? Get used to it. He's considered the top free agent pitcher out there and the time for players to file for their "freedom" hasn't even come yet. Some are speculating that Lackey will garner a contract for five years and worth between 80 and 100 million. The ship is about to come in for the right hander. O's fans will anxiously await word on whether their club is in the hunt for Lackey. While I would love to see him top and lead Baltimore's young rotation, I don't see the O's throwing out a contract of that magnitude. Some say whoever signs Lackey will be getting a good, but not nearly great pitcher. There is some evidence that may be true. Here's a comparison of Lackey's last two seasons (combined) vs. Jeremy Guthrie's 2007 and 2008 seasons. Lackey: 23-13, 3.79.....340IP....338H....43 HR.....87BB.....269K.......1.25 WHIP. Guthrie: 17-17, 3.66....366IP.....341H....47HR.....105BB.....243K......1.22 WHIP. Is the Guthrie of those years a pitcher worth 80 to 100 million? I didn't think so, either. By the way, Guthrie is 30 and Lackey 31. Still, I'll take Lackey on the O's any day and I don't mind if they overspend for him - It's not our money, right? I just don't see that happening with the Orioles. These stats do show how important a return to form by Guthrie would be. It would be like adding a Lackey to the rotation. I've heard some say that even at his best, Guthrie is only a third or fourth starter. At his best, he is clearly better than that - Not an ace like Sabathia or Halladay, but a very solid, perhaps number two, pitcher. A return to form by Guthrie in 2010 would be so huge for the Orioles. Even with that, they could use another solid starter with similar numbers to help the young guns. The O's have several quality pitchers still on the way on the farm, but you can never have enough starters. Perish the thought, but if they ever have a surplus of quality starters, other teams would jump at the chance to trade with a club willing to part with young arms. Maybe then, they wouldn't be Lackey, I mean, lacking a good rotation.