April 23, 2018
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Red Sox set to add Lackey, Cameron

The Associated Press

BOSTON, Mass. — 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 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.

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 19ª 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¤ 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. Boston also could pursue free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, who spent the past five seasons with Seattle.

A trade of Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers for minor league catcher Max Ramirez reportedly is being held up by concerns about the condition of Lowell’s right thumb.

Beckett was 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA last season, while Lester went 15-8 with a 3.41 ERA. Buchholz had a 7-4 record and a 4.21 ERA after being called up at midseason from Triple-A Pawtucket.

The 43-year-old Wakefield expects to be ready for spring training after having back surgery on Oct. 21. The knuckleballer was picked for the All-Star game for the first time last season and finished 11-5 with a 4.58 ERA.

The Red Sox are hoping Matsuzaka can have a solid full season. He took part in the World Baseball Classic this year, then reported to the Red Sox out of shape. He was 1-5 when he was sidelined with a minor right shoulder strain and began rehab. In his last four starts of the season, he was 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA, lowering his season mark from 8.23 to 5.76.

Phils, Halladay in tentative deal

The Philadelphia Phillies have a tentative agreement to acquire star pitcher Roy Halladay in a trade with Toronto, and the former Cy Young Award winner was in Philadelphia on Monday for a physical required to complete the deal.

Philadelphia also is discussing a trade that would send Cliff Lee, another former Cy Young winner, to the Seattle Mariners.

The commissioner’s office granted a 72-hour window on Sunday for Toronto and Philadelphia to complete their trade, a baseball official familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball didn’t make any announcement.

Halladay took a physical on Monday for the NL champion Phillies, another person with knowledge of the situation said, also on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.

Philadelphia could give up pitchers J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and outfielder Dominic Brown as part of a deal, the person said. Those three players also took physicals in Philadelphia on Monday.

Halladay’s agent, Greg Landry, was registered at a Philadelphia hotel, a sign the sides were working on a contract extension, which likely would be necessary before Halladay waives his right to block a trade.

Lee, who like Halladay is eligible for free agency after next season, could wind up going to Seattle, the baseball official said.

The 32-year-old Halladay is the most prized pitcher on the trade market. A six-time All-Star and the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner, the right-hander went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA for the Blue Jays last season. He led the majors with four shutouts and nine complete games while throwing 239 innings, second to Detroit’s Justin Verlander (240).

Halladay would be a huge addition for the aggressive Phillies, who won the 2008 World Series and repeated as NL champs this year, when they lost the World Series to the New York Yankees in six games.

The Phillies are thought to be a preferable fit for Halladay because they hold spring training in Clearwater, Fla., near his offseason home.

Aware they probably couldn’t afford to keep Halladay beyond next season, the Blue Jays shopped their ace before the July 31 trade deadline. The Phillies were thought to be involved in talks involving Halladay at that point, but instead they landed Lee from the Cleveland Indians for four minor leaguers.

Lee was a big reason Philadelphia won its second consecutive pennant, going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and two complete games in five postseason starts.

The Blue Jays fired general manager J.P. Ricciardi late in the season and replaced him with Alex Anthopoulos. When contacted Monday by the AP, Anthopoulos declined comment.

The Phillies have been busy this offseason, signing free-agent third baseman Placido Polanco to an $18 million, three-year contract. They also signed Brian Schneider to be their backup catcher, and reserve infielder Juan Castro.

Halladay has been one of baseball’s best pitchers for years. He owns a 148-76 career record with a 3.43 ERA.

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