NEW YORK -- Texan
But while the Abilene, Texas native may relish a return home, the chances of that happening may also depend on whether the Thanksgiving deadline is met for the sale of the Rangers franchise. Regardless, Lackey should have plenty of alternatives, especially if he keeps pitching like he did in the Division Series, when he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Red Sox in a Game 1 win.
The right-hander, who went 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA and is known as a big-game pitcher, is in an excellent position as easily the best starting pitcher about to be on the free-agent market. "His timing couldn't be better,'' one American League general manager said. "He's a difference-maker, and there aren't a lot of difference-makers out there this year, especially in terms of starting pitchers.'' Lackey is cited as often for his competitiveness and toughness as he is for his talent.
While Lackey has thrived in Anaheim, the chances of him returning to the Angels appear fairly remote, considering their contractual offer back in the spring was for only about half what he is expected to seek. According to a person familiar with those talks, the Angels offered a deal for three years and close to $40 million on top of the $10 million salary that he was to be paid in 2009, bringing the total package to close to $50 million. Potentially, Lackey could double that as a free agent.
One of baseball's best organizations, the Angels have absorbed big-time defections before, such as closer
The Angels, second to St. Louis in terms of impact free agents with stars
Word has been going around that Lackey will seek "
The Yankees, Mets and crosstown Dodgers are among many logical landing spots. But true or not, the Rangers' rumors are picking up steam. The Angels' rival is an improving team that could be attractive for Lackey. They have been in need of an ace and have seen up close what Lackey can do.
The Rangers, who attempted to acquire
Lackey would represent a coup for any new owner. "He's a horse,'' one American League scout said. He's a horse most believe is about to bolt.
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