The scuttlebutt among the Yankee beat scribes is that John Lackey is close to agreeing to a five-year deal with Boston for roughly the same amount of money for which A.J. Burnett signed with the Yankees last year. Hideki Matsui may be close to a one-year, $6.5 million deal to DH for the Angels. Additionally, Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that Roy Halliday and his agent have checked into a Philadelphia hotel, perhaps indicating negotiations for a deal to bring Halliday to the Phillies. On a related note, Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi of FoxSports are reporting that Cliff Lee might be involved in a trade that might also be a three-way deal, with a potential third team unknown, to bring Halliday to Philly.
First on Lackey, if Boston wants to sign him for that long and that money, fine with me. No offense to him, for he is a good tough pitcher. Yet the Yanks already have a strong rotation to match anyone, especially with Pettite’s return. They also have plenty of long-term contracts both among the pitchers and the position players. As I have mentioned before, probably to the point of ad nauseam, the Yankees are not in a must-sign position as they were after 2008. They have Joba ready to go sans the innings cap, and Hughes also stretching out to probably the fifth starter, which would allow him to start while also occasionally getting skipped to limit his innings. Moreover, the Yanks had some success off Lackey last year, so I am not exactly panicked should he go to Boston, even though he would certainly strengthen their rotation.
On Matsui, should that deal go through, it sure would make it harder to root against the Angels with Matsui on their roster. I admit to being a big fan of his, and would miss him. But if he were to sign for that amount, not a huge contract, it would probably be a sign of Matsui’s and Tellem’s unwillingness to wait long for an offer from the Yanks, who showed little interest in bringing him back. That would be a shame, but hardly surprising. I’ll miss Matsui wherever he goes; a great and maybe soon-to-be ex-Yankee.
On Halliday, we’ll see how any negotiations with the Phillies proceed, but it would be great for the Yankees–and others–should Halliday leave the AL and the East. Hopefully Lee won’t enter in his place, but they will cross that bridge if and when they come to it. Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News brings up a good point with which I agree–that if Lackey went to Boston, it would not mean the Yankees would necessarily pursue Halliday, especially if the Phillies are courting him. The Yankees have not been major players for Lackey thus far, and Halliday’s going to Philadelphia would please the Yankees enormously, so should the rumors mentioned above come true, the Yankees can benefit without pursuing Halliday and sacrificing young talent.
As with all hot stove proceedings, we’ll see. But with this slew of potentially big moves, I figured I would err on the side of relaying the information rather than waiting. Discuss if you are so inclined.
[Edit: Jon Heyman of SI.com is reporting that Halliday is going to Philly in a three-way deal with Seattle, having agreed to an extension. As of now, he is uncertain whom Seattle would receive. More to come.]