When the Cardinals acquired right-hander John Lackey from the Red Sox on Thursday, they were acquiring not only an above-average veteran starter, but also an above-average veteran starter who's under contract for 2015 at the major-league minimum salary of $500,000.

By way of reminder, Lackey's contract with Boston called for him to pitch the 2015 season at the MLB minimum if he missed "significant" time because of a pre-existing elbow injury. Since Lackey missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, that clause kicked in.

Of course, Lackey after this season will have made almost $110 million in his big-league career, so it seemed possible that the 35-year-old would retire rather than pitch for the minimum in 2015 or, alternatively, use the threat of retirement as leverage to re-negotiate.