John Lackey traveled to Boston for a physical exam Monday, and a baseball source said the Red Sox are making progress toward an agreement with the free agent right-hander.
A source said that it is “not likely” that an agreement would be in place or an announcement would be made by the end of Monday.
Specific details weren’t available, but the Red Sox’s heightened pursuit of Lackey came after reports that Boston is fading in its efforts to retain free-agent outfielder Jason Bay.
Lackey, 31, is 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA in eight seasons with the Angels, and he would join Josh Beckett and Jon Lester at the top of a powerhouse rotation in Boston. The Mariners, Angels and Mets are among the other teams interested in signing Lackey.
Typically, players undergo physical exams as the final step in an agreement, but there are no indications precisely where the Red Sox are in the process with Lackey and his agent, Steve Hilliard.
Entering the offseason, it was believed that Lackey would use A.J. Burnett’s five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees as a benchmark, but industry estimates of his potential haul have ranged from $60 million to $100 million.
There were reports that Lackey declined a $72 million offer earlier this year from the Angels, but his representatives have since characterized those reports as untrue.
Lackey shut out the Red Sox through 7 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the AL Division Series and nearly no-hit Boston in 2008, but in nine career regular-season starts at Fenway Park, he is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA.
Bay turned down Boston’s latest contract offer late last week and was ready to “move on” from Boston, according to his agent, Joe Urbon. The Red Sox have no intention of offering Bay a five-year deal, a source told ESPNBoston.com.
Also still up in the air is the status of third baseman Mike Lowell, who will undergo a physical for the Rangers this week, a source told EPSNDallas.com, as the Red Sox and Rangers continue to evaluate a proposed trade that would send Lowell to Texas and catcher Max Ramirez to Boston.