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Lowell stays

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  November 19, 2007 01:05 PM

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Free-agent third baseman Mike Lowell has agreed in principle to the framework of a three-year deal to return to the Red Sox, major league baseball sources close to the negotiations have confirmed.

Lowell, 33, tested the free-agent waters, and may have received at least one four-year offer from another undisclosed team, but in the end the Sox third baseman elected to stay where he was most comfortable. Sources indicated to the Associated Press that the three-year deal is worth $37.5 million.

While the sides have reached the outline of the deal, there are still minor issues to be worked out and as of Monday evening there still was not a signed letter of agreement between the team and Lowell's agents. Team spokesman John Blake declined comment.

The Red Sox had placed a deadline of today for Lowell to make up his mind. If Lowell had passed on the Sox offer, which remained pretty close to the original offer they made the World Series MVP, they were ready to begin implementing their Plan B.

"How cool is that?," wrote Sox pitcher Curt Schilling on his blog about Lowell's return. "Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff. 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 Ive already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say were all ectstatic."

Lowell reached career highs this season with a .324 average, 21 homers and 120 RBIs. He batted fifth in Boston's powerful lineup behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.

He hit .400 (6-for-15) during Boston's four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, with four RBIs, three walks and a team-high six runs.

Lowell made $9 million this year and filed for free agency. The Philadelphia Phillies were among the teams interested in him and might have offered four guaranteed years.

Lowell's teammates and fans made clear that they wanted to see him back in Boston and urged them not to pursue Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who became a free agent before deciding to return to New York.

"Forget about A-Rod. We've got Mike Lowell in the house," Ramirez yelled out during the team's victory parade through Boston.

A four-time All-Star, Lowell came to Boston from Florida when he was tossed into the Josh Beckett trade because the small-budget Marlins wanted to shed his $9 million salary after he had a disappointing season.

Lowell, 33, had initially pushed for a four-year deal with the Red Sox.

The Sox have now re-signed both of their major free-agents -- Curt Schilling, who agreed to a one-year deal for $8 million and $5 million in incentives. The Sox could now entertain a deal for outfielder Coco Crisp sometimes between now and the winter meetings in December.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this update.

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