Phillies have tentative deal for Blue Jays’ Halladay
NEW YORK — Baseball’s hot stove started sizzling Monday, with Roy Halladay, John Lackey, Hideki Matsui and Mike Cameron all set to switch teams.
The Phillies have a tentative agreement to acquire 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 was discussing a trade that would send Cliff Lee, another former Cy Young winner, to Seattle.
The retooling Red Sox made two key moves in one day, reaching tentative agreements on a five-year contract with pitcher John Lackey worth $80 million to $87.5 million and a two-year deal with outfielder Mike Cameron for about $15 million.
World Series MVP Hideki Matsui decided to head west, reaching a preliminary agreement with the Los Angeles Angels on a one-year contract worth about $6.5 million.
Halladay has been coveted by top clubs for months, and 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 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 the Mariners, the baseball official said.
Halladay is a six-time All-Star and the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner. The 32-year-old 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).
Boston’s agreements with Lackey and Cameron were both subject to physicals and were disclosed separately by a baseball official and a person with knowledge of the negotiations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreements were not final.
Lackey, the top pitcher on the free-agent market after spending eight seasons with the Angels, was in Boston for a physical on Monday.
The moves seemed to indicate Boston has abandoned an attempt to re-sign slugging outfielder Jason Bay.
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, the right-hander is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA in nine starts.
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 in Boston as a replacement for Bay. The Red Sox have speedy Jacoby Ellsbury in center.
Matsui surpassed 100 RBIs four times in seven seasons with the Yankees after arriving from Japan, where he was a three-time Central League MVP for the Yomiuri Giants. He just completed a $52 million, four-year contract with New York.
Matsui hit .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs last season, then was selected World Series MVP despite starting only three of the six games against Philadelphia. He went 8 for 13 (.615) with three homers and eight RBIs, tying a Series record by driving in six runs in Game 6.
Slowed by surgically repaired knees, the 35-year-old Matsui would replace Vladimir Guerrero as Los Angeles’ primary designated hitter. Guerrero, also hobbled by injuries, will turn 35 in February.
Also, Milwaukee finalized its $29.75 million, three-year contract with left-hander Randy Wolf, reached a $2.1 million, one-year deal with infielder Craig Counsell and struck a preliminary one-year agreement with reliever Claudio Vargas, a deal pending a physical.
Washington agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract with left-hander Scott Olsen. He made $2.8 million last season and was let go by the Nationals last weekend to circumvent a rule limiting paycuts to 20 percent.
Houston agreed to an $800,000, one-year contract to keep outfielder Jason Michaels.