December 14, 2009

Top free agent pitcher John Lackey is said to be in agreement on a five-year, $85 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, sources say. Lackey has scheduled a physical with the team.

Lackey's deal with the Red Sox is similar to the $82.5 million, five-year contract A.J. Burnett got with the Yankees last offseason. "That's what they were looking for,'' an AL executive said.

Lackey has had a couple minor issues with his shoulder and back in recent seasons, so the Red Sox will want to check him out. But nothing serious is expected to be found.

Lackey would enhance an excellent rotation for Boston, which already has Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. The Red Sox had been trying to re-sign Jason Bay, but that seems unlikely now. They have talked to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, among others.

The Mariners, Yankees and incumbent Angels were among others that showed interest in Lackey.

The Yankees are one of at least three teams that's been showing interest in star Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, so perhaps the Lackey deal will spur them to get more involved.

AOL FanHouse first reported news of Lackey's physical.

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