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Lackey about to sign with Red Sox?

It didn't take long for the Boston Red Sox to respond to the apparent ultimatum from Jason Bay's agent. If Bay was indeed "moving on," then so were the Red Sox. According to AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price (via Twitter) and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, John Lackey, the top free agent pitcher on the market, took a phyiscal for the Red Sox today -- a precursor to Lackey's expected signing. Rosenthal expects the contract to be close in value to A.J. Burnett's deal last year with the Yankees ($82.5 million over five years).

As we wrote earlier, the Red Sox aren't known for caving in. Bay's agent may have been trying to engage the Red Sox by going public with his dissatisfaction at the pace of negotiations, but it clearly had the opposite effect on Theo Epstein and the Red Sox.

A couple of other thoughts if this deal goes through:

*Lackey represents more than another top-of-the-rotation arm for the Red Sox. He is also a hedge on Josh Beckett's free agency after the 2010 season. Having Lackey in the fold will make it a lot easier for Boston to allow Beckett to walk, if in fact that's what happens. For now, the Red Sox are still talking contract extension with Beckett.

*Woe be the Angels. First, Chone Figgins defects to the division rival Mariners, and now Lackey, whom they hoped to re-sign, is on the verge of signing with another AL rival. I fully expect the Angels to do something big -- perhaps Bay, perhaps Roy Halladay -- in the coming weeks.

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 14, 2009; 1:19 PM ET
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Dave, can you come back to NJ? Please?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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