Lackey will make the major league minimum next season, just over $500,000.
It was an expected move for the Cardinals, who traded for Lackey at the July 31 deadline knowing they would be able to pick up his option for next season.
When Lackey signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2009, one of the provisions was that if he missed significant time during those five years, there was a 2015 option at the league minimum. Lackey missed the entire 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery.
Lackey went 14-10 in 2014 with a 3.82 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 198 innings.
The Cardinals won the NL Central after going 90-72 in 2014, and lost to the eventual-champion San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.
- Molly Geary