During the offseason, the Red Sox signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal that slots him in as the No. 3 starter in the rotation. As Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated notes, Lackey was the most feasible option for the team, ahead of Jason Bay, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay and Matt Holliday.
Heyman ranked Holliday and Bay at just a 1 percent chance of being a Red Sox in 2010. He notes that the club offered Holliday the same deal it offered Lackey, but Boston felt that Holliday would find a better deal elsewhere. He did, returning to the St. Louis Cardinals for seven years and $120 million. As for Bay, it was a no-brainer for the left fielder to move on after the Red Sox offered a scant two years to the slugger.
As for former Toronto (and current Philadelphia) ace Roy Halladay, Boston felt that it would have to overpay to get Toronto to move the right-hander within the division. Factoring in the cost of players they'd have to give up and the extension they would have had to sign Halladay to, this route was quickly scrapped.
While the Red Sox are favorites to land Adrian Gonzalez, the time isn't right just yet. It is unlikely that the Padres can re-sign the hometown star, as he could be asking north of $20 million per year in his next contract. The Padres will likely move Gonzalez at the trading deadline this season or immediately following the year.
With four options off the board, that left Lackey as the remaining impact player most likely to join the team. Heyman writes that the Red Sox "understand they need impact players to beat the Yankees," which made Lackey the clear choice.
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