Red Sox set to add Lackey
Published 8:17 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The retooling Red Sox made two key moves in one day, reaching tentative agreements with pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron.
Lackey and Boston agreed on a five-year contract, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations. The deal is worth $16 million to $17.5 million a season, the official said Monday on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.
The Red Sox also reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with Cameron for $7 million to $8 million annually, according to a person familiar with those negotiations. That deal is subject to a physical, the person said on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.
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The moves seem to indicate Boston has abandoned an attempt to re-sign slugging outfielder Jason Bay.
Lackey, the top pitcher on the free-agent market after spending eight seasons with the Angels, was in Boston for a physical Monday needed to complete the deal, the baseball official said.
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and co-owner Tom Werner declined comment in e-mails to The Associated Press. Team owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein did not respond to e-mails.
The 31-year-old Lackey would give the Red Sox one of the best rotations in baseball, rivaling that of the New York Yankees, who added CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett before last season and then won the World Series. Sabathia signed for $161 million over seven years, while Burnett got an $82.5 million, five-year deal.
Lackey would join a rotation headlined by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. Boston also has starters Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield on the roster.
Lackey has a 102-71 regular-season record with a 3.81 ERA in eight seasons, all with the Angels. At Fenway Park, he is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA in nine starts.
The right-hander is coming off a strong postseason in which he struck out 14 batters in 19 2-3 innings for Los Angeles while allowing five earned runs and 19 hits.
In the opener of the AL division series against Boston in Anaheim, Calif., Lackey allowed four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-0 win. Lester gave up three runs and four hits in six innings in that game. The Angels swept the series 3-0.
As a rookie in 2002, Lackey won Game 7 of the World Series against San Francisco.
Cameron, who turns 37 next month, batted .250 with 24 homers and 70 RBIs last season for Milwaukee. A three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, he could switch to left with Boston as a replacement for Bay. The Red Sox have speedy Jacoby Ellsbury in center.
The addition of Lackey might make the 25-year-old Buchholz more expendable in a deal for offense. The Red Sox reportedly have shown interest in first basemen Adrian Gonzalez of San Diego and Miguel Cabrera of Detroit, and could switch Kevin Youkilis to third base.