The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative deal with right-handed pitcher John Lackey, pending a physical, worth slightly more than the $82.5 million, five-year contract A.J. Burnett signed with the New York Yankees last year, a source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
Pair Of Aces
The Red Sox's rotation is coming up aces. Here's a look at how Lackey and Josh Beckett, who is Boston's No. 1 guy, compare:
Born Spring, TX Abilene, TX
W-L 106-68 102-71
ERA 3.79 3.81
Won WS Clincher 2003 2002
Lackey traveled to Boston for a physical exam Monday, fueling speculation that an agreement was close at hand.
Specific details weren't available, but the Red Sox's heightened pursuit of Lackey came after reports that Boston is fading in its efforts to retain free-agent outfielder Jason Bay.
Lackey, 31, is 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA in eight seasons with the Angels, and he would join Josh Beckett and Jon Lester at the top of a powerhouse rotation in Boston. The Mariners, Angels and Mets are among the other teams interested in signing Lackey.
Entering the offseason, it was believed that Lackey would use A.J. Burnett's five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees as a benchmark, but industry estimates of his potential haul have ranged from $60 million to $100 million.
There were reports that Lackey declined a $72 million offer earlier this year from the Angels, but his representatives have since characterized those reports as untrue.
Lackey shut out the Red Sox through 7 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the AL Division Series and nearly no-hit Boston in 2008, but in nine career regular-season starts at Fenway Park, he is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA.
Bay turned down Boston's latest contract offer late last week and was ready to "move on" from Boston, according to his agent, Joe Urbon. The Red Sox have no intention of offering Bay a five-year deal, a source told ESPNBoston.com.
Also still up in the air is the status of third baseman Mike Lowell, who will undergo a physical for the Rangers this week, a source told EPSNDallas.com, as the Red Sox and Rangers continue to evaluate a proposed trade that would send Lowell to Texas and catcher Max Ramirez to Boston.