BOSTON -- Immediately after winning the World Series, the Red Sox placed a high priority on retaining the services of All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell. Just three weeks later, the Red Sox are on the verge of completing that mission.

Multiple news outlets -- including ESPN.com, The Associated Press, the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe -- reported on Monday afternoon that Lowell and the Red Sox have agreed in principle on a three-year deal that is believed to be worth between $36-$38 million.

According to a Red Sox official, no announcement is expected until Tuesday at the earliest.

Lowell was the Most Valuable Player during the Red Sox's World Series sweep of the Rockies, hitting .400 (6-for-15) with a homer and four RBIs. He also had one of the strongest regular seasons of his career, hitting .324 with 21 homers and a club-leading 120 RBIs.

All along, Lowell, who turns 34 in February, wanted to stay with the Red Sox and the club wanted him back. The only sticking point seemed to be the length of the deal.

The Red Sox would only offer three years, while Lowell and his representatives were hopeful of finding a four-year deal.

It is unknown if Lowell, in fact, did receive a four-year offer on the open market.

The Red Sox -- according to the Boston Herald -- set a one-week deadline for Lowell and his representatives to mull over their offer. Monday was the end of that deadline, and the framework of the deal was agreed to by late morning.

Lowell is respected by his teammates, both for the way he plays the game and for the leadership he provides in the clubhouse. In fact, Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling immediately posted a blog entry upon learning of the news that Lowell was on the verge of signing a new deal.

"How cool is that? Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff," Schilling wrote on his blog 38pitches.com. "Pretty nice to think you are fans in a town that is now a desired destination for athletes across the major sports. Come a long way for sure. Congrats to Mike, and I've already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say, we're all ecstatic."

Hot Stove

Perceived by many as a throw-in when the Red Sox acquired Josh Beckett on Thanksgiving 2005, Lowell has instead been a cornerstone during his two years in Boston. In '06, Lowell struck 47 doubles to go along with 20 homers, 80 RBIs and a .280 batting average. He did all that while making just six errors at third base.

Lowell was rumored to be going to the Rockies for Todd Helton last offseason, but that deal fell through. The Red Sox wound up being grateful, as Lowell was the most consistent run producer for a team that wound up being champions.