The Cubs are “pretty hot” on John Lackey, reports Yahoo’s Tim Brown (Twitter link), who hears that the two sides are discussing both two- and three-year contract possibilities. If the two sides do come to an agreement, it’ll mark the second time that Theo Epstein has signed Lackey as a free agent, as Epstein was Boston’s GM when Lackey signed his five-year, $82.5MM contract with the Red Sox.
Lackey, 37, would give Chicago a strong No. 3 option in the rotation behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. While Chicago has been said to be interested in a reunion with Jeff Samardzija, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier today that the price tag on Samardzija may be rising beyond the Cubs’ comfort level. Meanwhile, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal said that the Cubs were becoming increasingly interested in Lackey as the prices of starters who will require longer-term commitments continued to rise.
Lackey has also reportedly drawn at least some interest from the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Marlins this offseason. He rejected a qualifying offer from the Cardinals after posting a 2.77 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in a terrific 2015 season in St. Louis.