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Lackey negotiations could be heating up

March 6, 2009 |  1:39 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Steve Hilliard, the agent for Angels ace John Lackey, is in Tempe Diablo Stadium to meet with General Manager Tony Reagins today, an indication that negotiations on a contract extension for the veteran right-hander could be heating up.

Lackey's three-year, $17-million contract expired after the 2008 season, and the Angels picked up his $10-million option for 2009.

If Lackey, who has a 91-63 record and 3.81 earned run average in six-plus seasons in the big leagues, hits the free-agent market next winter, he would probably be the best pitcher available and could command a deal similar to the six-year, $82.5-million contract the Yankees gave A.J. Burnett this winter.

Lackey is very open to signing an extension with the Angels but said he'd like to complete negotiations before the start of the regular season. He is believed to be seeking a deal of at least five years in length, and he is expected to command at least $12 million a year.

-- Mike DiGiovanna