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Progress on Beckett extension; no deal yet

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 31, 2010 09:30 PM

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A report by Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated earlier today indicated the Red Sox and Josh Beckett were "closing in" on a four-year, $70 million contract extension.

A Major League source confirmed that to the Globe tonight, but said that the sides have not yet agreed on a deal and that if it does get done, the package would be worth roughly $68 million.

Beckett initially did not want negotiations during the season. But agent Mike Moye and Theo Epstein have agreed to continue talks past Sunday, if necessary.

Such a pact would serve two purposes: The Red Sox would not be committed to Beckett for more than five years, which was one of their goals. Beckett, meanwhile, would have a contract with an average annual value of $17 million. That would edge him past the five-year, $82.5 million deals given to A.J. Burnett and John Lackey.

Why does that matter? Burnett used to be Beckett's teammate and Lackey now is. Players like keeping score.

What remains uncertain is how the money will be spread out and whether Beckett and the Sox will include any medical clauses in the framework of the deal to protect the team against a possible shoulder injury.

What does seem certain at this point is that a deal is there to be made and should get done soon.

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