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John Lackey, Red Sox Agree To Five-Year Contract

John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a five-year contract worth roughly $82 million, according to ESPN:

The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative deal with right-handed pitcher John Lackey, pending a physical, worth slightly more than the $82.5 million, five-year contract A.J. Burnett signed with the New York Yankees last year, a source familiar with the negotiations told's Jayson Stark.

Lackey traveled to Boston for a physical exam Monday, fueling speculation that an agreement was close at hand.

All I can say to this news is: "wow." Can you say "Theo Epstein is a sneaky man"? At the beginning of the offseason, if you had told me John Lackey would be a Red Sox, I would have told you to exit immediately and leave the chowder. There was no way, in my mind at least, the Sox would a) want Lackey or b) pay Lackey. However, it looks like they did both things and fooled everyone in the process.

Lackey is the No. 1 on any baseball team in the major league. With the Red Sox, he'll be a No. 2 or No. 3. We don't know yet. All I know for sure is the Red Sox's rotation has to be regarded as the best in baseball with Lackey coming on board. Here are the projected starters:

Josh Beckett
Jon Lester
John Lackey
Clay Buchholz
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tim Wakefield

One extra man, of course, but I'm sure Theo and Terry Francona will figure out how to work that arrangement.

OTM will have more on this signing in the coming days.