Beckett, Boston 'getting close' to extension
Baseball source says deal is worth $68 million
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the end of Spring Training drawing near, the Red Sox and representatives for ace Josh Beckett continue to negotiate on a contract that could keep the right-hander in a Boston uniform through 2014.
While both sides have stood by their vow of keeping the negotiations private, a Major League source said they're "getting close, but not there yet" on Wednesday evening and multiple reports have indicated that a successful resolution could be reached soon.
SI.com, citing sources "close to the situation," reported Wednesday evening that the Red Sox are close to signing Beckett to a four-year extension worth $70 million, but that the deal might not be announced until shortly after the start of the season.
A baseball source told MLB.com that the total value of the contract is $68 million.
Earlier this week, ESPN.com reported that the Red Sox would not offer Beckett the same five-year deal they gave John Lackey back in December, but added a couple of days later that there was still optimism a deal could be reached within the next couple of weeks.
Beckett has vowed to keep his focus on pitching entering the season.
Asked Monday night following his Grapefruit League start if he had anything to add about his contract situation, Beckett said, "No, I really don't have anything right now."
The Red Sox have a club policy of not commenting on any ongoing contract negotiation until it is finalized.
Beckett's agent, Michael Moye, has also declined comment.
Beckett will next pitch for the Red Sox on Sunday night against the Yankees in the first game of Major League Baseball's 2010 season.
Beckett, who turns 30 on May 15, is 65-34 with a 4.05 ERA in 122 starts for the Red Sox. In his career, he is 106-68 with a 3.79 ERA. The righty forever notched a place in Boston's postseason lore by going 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in October 2007, lifting the Red Sox to a World Series championship. Beckett was equally heroic in leading the Marlins to a World Series title in 2003, firing a shutout against the Yankees on three days' rest in clinching Game 6.
He was acquired by the Red Sox in November 2005 in a blockbuster trade that also brought Mike Lowell to Boston. Hanley Ramirez, one of the best all-around players in the game, went to Florida in that deal.
In August 2006, the Red Sox signed Beckett to a three-year, $30 million extension that included a $12 million option, which the right-hander will earn this season.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.