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How Lackey affects Beckett

12.16.09 at 3:05 pm ET

One side story that stems from the Red Sox‘ signing of John Lackey is Josh Beckett’s future with the Red Sox.

Beckett is a free agent after the 2010 season and has a comparable resume to Lackey. Beckett will be 30 in May, while Lackey will be 31 on Opening Day of 2010. Cases could be made for both in regard to who gets the upper-hand when looking at each pitcher’s statistics.

So now the Red Sox have Lackey at five years and $82.5 million, a number they knew was most likely going to have to be decided upon for a pitcher like the former Angels’ ace once A.J. Burnett signed his nearly identical five-year deal last offseason, where does it leave Beckett?

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said following the Lackey press conference that the door is still open for a Beckett extension.

“I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey’s deal,” Epstein said. “I just told him, ‘Some might speculate this might mean the end for you in Boston.’ I said ‘Don’t listen to them. You’re a huge part of what we have going on here. We love it if it worked out if you’re a huge part of our future, as well. The most important thing is that we have one heck of a pitching staff right now.’ He texted back. He was very excited about the sign. He knows John a little bit. he thinks he’s a good man and a great pitcher and he’s ready to go for spring training. I don’t think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree people are speculating.”

Here is what Lackey said regarding Beckett, whom he got to know a little bit at the 2007 All-Star Game.

“I don’€™t know him incredibly well, just hanging out at an All-Star Game, just talking,” Lackey said. “Our lockers were next to each other at that. So shagging, just kind of shooting the breeze kind of stuff, but always a respect factor. Especially, I’€™ve gone against him several times in some big games. You know you’€™ve got to bring it because you know he’€™s going to bring it, and I hope these people feel the same way about me because you can’€™t always guarantee results, but I will guarantee that I’€™ll be there giving you what I’€™ve got.”

Beckett told WEEI.com shortly following the season that he planned on meeting with the Red Sox this offseason to discuss the prospects of signing an extension.

Epstein’s comments on extending Lackey’s deal to five years — which was only decided upon this past weekend after it became clear the negotiations with Jason Bay and Matt Holliday were budging — should also be noted:

“It’€™s a part of every time you sign a pitcher. It’€™s a big part of the research. Trust me, we’€™ve done a lot of due diligence,” said Epstein in regard to analyzing the risk of a five-year deal.

“If you look back at April 2008 was triceps issue, soft tissue, that certainly has resolved itself. And doing our research on what happened this last April, it was probably a little bit of a rush through Spring Training to get ready, and we think that John’€™s spring routine, it’€™s something we’€™ve already talked about, maybe it can be handled a little differently to resolve that. But when he came back he didn’€™t miss a start. He’€™s been, outside of those two episodes, extraordinarily durable throughout his entire career and is someone who obviously finished strong last year. The last image of John Lackey is him demanding the ball on the field of Yankee Stadium. So he’€™s somebody that we strongly believe is healthy. Trust me, we put him through quite a physical over the last 48 hours, and he’€™s someone we trust to take the ball every fifth day.”

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