AL East Rich Set To Get Richer as Lackey to Red Sox (Update)

↵What's that they say about an East Coast Bias? In baseball, it's not exactly everywhere in the East, rather more centrally located within the confines of the American League East. And let's be fair, we aren't really talking about Baltimore. ↵

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↵Ten of the last 15 World Series participants from the American League came from the AL East. If you go back another two full seasons, it's 12 of the last 17, with every team but the Orioles making the Fall Classic. Even with a World Series appearance in 2008, it's not really fair to include Tampa Bay in the AL East bias discussion. And, for that matter, Toronto is only in the discussion until they eventually trade Roy Halladay and fall back into irrelevancy for the next decade or so. ↵

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↵Which leaves Boston and New York. It doesn't seem like it's news in MLB unless it's happening to the Red Sox or Yankees. When New York finished off a blockbuster trade for Curtis Granderson last week, all eyes were on Boston to see what the next move would be. ↵

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↵With Jason Bay talks subsiding (for now), reports are coming in that the Red Sox are close to signing John Lackey. Lackey, regarded as the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, underwent a physical on Monday morning and is close to an agreement in the A.J. Burnett range of five years, $82.5 million. Per Rosenthal, the fifth year may be a sticking point for Boston, but the deal is all but done. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN confirmed the physical but wrote that a source "said that it is 'not likely' that an agreement would be in place or an announcement would be made by the end of the day Monday." ↵

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↵(UPDATE: SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that Lackey has agreed to a five-year $85 million deal with Boston.) ↵

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↵Rosenthal also noted that the Sox are looking to re-sign Josh Beckett to a long-term deal as well. Beckett is entering the final year of his contract and has slightly better numbers than Lackey, and is two years younger. That's a lot of money to throw at two pitchers, but clearly, the Red Sox have it. ↵

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↵Right now, the two teams in the mix for Halladay are reportedly the Angels and Phillies, but don't be surprised if the Yankees counter this move by the Red Sox with a more concerted effort to get Halladay. ↵

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↵And that's the moral of the MLB offseason so far this year, and every year. Sure it's AL East bias for reporters to throw the Yankees and Red Sox names into the mix of any big trade or any high-priced free agent. But not when they keep signing everyone. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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