Montville: Buying the Boston Globe for less than John Lackey

Leigh Montville in Sports on Earth writes a column putting the John Henry-Boston Globe deal in perspective. And it isn’t pretty from the newspaper side.

The price that he paid for this addition was the great surprise.

“I can’t believe he bought our newspaper for $70 million,” I, a one-time sportswriter at The Globe, said to another one-time sportswriter at The Globe. “He gets all that real estate. He gets all of those trucks. He gets the rights to all of the stories, all of the pictures, the 22 Pulitzers, all of the past, plus the computer present and future of the pre-eminent voice in all of New England. The Times paid $1.1 billion for The Globe 20 years ago. He gets it for $70 million? The stories say that’s about four percent of what The Times paid.”

“He just gave Dustin Pedroia a $110 million contract extension for eight years,” the other one-time sportswriter said. “So he’s paying $50 million more for the starting Red Sox second baseman than he is for the pre-eminent voice in New England…”

This fact made the two of us feel very old.

And then there was this stunning revelation:

The Red Sox player whose mega-contract to play baseball best approximates the price the Red Sox owner paid for the newspaper, the buildings, the trucks — did I mention that the Worcester Telegram and some smaller newspapers that also were included? — is 34-year-old starting pitcher John Lackey. Right-hander, 6-feet-6, 235 pounds, born in Abilene, Texas, October 23, 1978. He is in the fourth year of a five-year contract he signed for $82.5 million to join the Red Sox in 2010.

His other numbers do not crunch very well. He has won 33 games during his time in Boston. He has lost 32. He has been a controversial character, all grimaces and snarls on the mound, outspoken at times, a contributing member of the fried chicken and beer collective that was singled out after the Sox’ late collapse in 2011. He missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery. He has returned this year, thinner and stronger, more positive, but still has a 7-9 record despite a 3.21 ERA. He is — basically — a .500 pitcher. He will earn $15.25 million this year. His five-year contract is worth $12.5 million more than the price of The Globe.

“Wow,” the other sportswriter said.

“Wow,” I agreed.

Wow, cubed.


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