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John Lackey and the Red Sox, Hideki Matsui and the Angels and Roy Halladay and the Phillies

HIDEKI MATSUI Yankee outfielder and World Series MVP


Yankee outfielder and World Series MVP Hideki Matsui wishes "for the health and happiness of my family." We're with you, Hideki, but the rest of us want to celebrate your championship season.

>>See gifts for Yankees fans

Photo Credit: AP

Well, so much for this morning's post. The Red Sox, one of baseball's best teams at keeping secrets, have flown John Lackey into Boston for a physical, as first reported by Ed Price.

Characteristic of that secrecy, no one (including me) can quite get a handle on the financial terms, or precisely how close along the two sides are. But you don't take a physical without getting far down the road. The Red Sox did have extensive discussions with and about Lackey last week at the winter meetings, a person with knowledge of their thinking said.

What does this mean for the locals? So long, Jason Bay. Don't see how there's room for him (or Matt Holliday) now. If the Mets can get Bay at the original four years and (approximately) $65 million they offered, that's not an awful deal.

Of course, having Lackey off the board would give the Mets no chance to add a "second ace," if you will, to their starting rotation.They'll have to resort to that second tier of free-agent pitchers, someone from the group of Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Jason Marquis et al.

As for the Yankees...I don't see them reacting to this by going hard after Roy Halladay. Really, I see the Angels, having lost Lackey, going harder after Halladay.

More news as it comes.

UPDATE, 3:12 p.m.: Wow, what a day! ESPN is reporting that Hideki Matsui and the Angels are closing in on a one-year deal for about $6.5 million, and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Roy Halladay is in Philadelphia to negotiate with the Phillies.

I am admittedly surprised about Matsui and the Angels. My sense was that Matsui was one of many options they were considering. But with the Yankees making Matsui wait, Matsui worked to get this deal done with the Angels.

It certainly helps Johnny Damon's cause with the Yankees, although I'm not sure if it will help enough to bridge the gap between the two sides.

As for Halladay, that he's talking with the Phillies displays how serious he was about wanting to be close to his home on Florida's Gulf Coast. The Phillies train in Clearwater, which gave them an advantage over the Angels. It'll be fascinating to see whether the Phillies go with a front of the rotation featuring Halladay or Cliff Lee or, as is being speculated, whether Lee will be dealt.

Bad news for the Mets either way, of course.

UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: It's going to get buried on a day like today, but MLB announced that the Yankees and Red Sox will open the 2010 season with a Sunday night game - April 4 - on ESPN2. The game is at Fenway Park.

UPDATE, 4:00 p.m.: Oh my goodness gracious! A mammoth, three-way trade, as first reported by Jon Heyman! Kudos also to Ken Rosenthal, who floated this idea last week. Cliff Lee goes to Seattle, and Halladay to Philly. Wow.

I really think this clears the way for Bay to go to the Mets. Spoke with someone from the Mariners who can't envision signing Bay to be their leftfielder (because of his defense), and all the more so now with the dollars committed to Lee.

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