Yanks want Lackey?
The world champion Yankees have top free-agent pitcher John Lackey on their free-agent shopping list, sources said. The Yankees aren’t expected to be as aggressive this winter on the free market as last offseason and they haven’t firmed up all their plans as yet, but one league source said of Lackey, “He’s definitely on their radar.
”Word is that the Yankees probably will be willing to repeat A.J. Burnett’s $82.5 million, five-year contract for Lackey. Although, one person close to Lackey — whose offer to stay with the Angels this spring was for less than $40 million over three years on top of this year’s $10 million salary — indicated the longtime Angels right-hander sees himself in a higher echelon than Burnett. Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA for the Angels last year and has been their ace for some of his eight seasons there.
Lackey is definitely an impressive arm, however, with regards to signing him, I don’t think that the Yankees are serious in their interest. As a free agent, he’ll command somewhere between $85 million per year and, possibly, $90 million per (he should get more than Burnett). As long as Andy Pettitte returns, which is a likely scenario, the Yankees may not need such an expensive albeit effective addition to their rotation (not if they’re serious about Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as starters). Their interest could also be based upon underlying division competition, with the Yankees driving up the price for the Boston Red Sox, who Heyman later cites as another possible suitor for Lackey’s talents.
While I doubt the legitimacy of New York’s interest in Lackey, at least to a certain degree, a starting rotation which features CC Sabathia, John Lackey, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte would be awfully impressive (one of the best, ever). In fact, as one NL assistant GM told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, “If the Yankees were able to lock Lackey into a rotation with Sabathia and Burnett, it could be the start of another dynasty.” The assistant was speaking with Crasnick about Lackey and the Yankees because Crasnick had surveyed 20 general managers regarding likely destinations for free agents and found that 8 of the 20 believed Lackey would end up in pinstripes (the Mets came in second with 4).
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