The Red Sox and their popular third baseman reached a preliminary agreement Monday on a three-year, $37.5 million contract, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.
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.
In the three weeks since winning their second championship in four seasons, the Red Sox have re-signed their two biggest free agents, Lowell and pitcher Curt Schilling, and picked up options on Tim Wakefield and Julian Tavarez.
Lowell, a 33-year-old third baseman who made $9 million this season, was seeking four guaranteed years and might have gotten it elsewhere.
"How cool is that? Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff," Schilling wrote on his blog, 38pitches.com. "Congrats to Mike and I've already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say we're all" ecstatic.
|Mike Lowell had a career season before taking home the World Series MVP trophy. (Getty Images)|
A high-priced castoff of the Florida Marlins who was dumped on the Red Sox in the Josh Beckett trade, Lowell moved into the fifth spot in Boston's powerful lineup behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Lowell hit 21 homers this season while reaching career highs with a .324 average and 120 RBI.
Lowell batted .400 (6-for-15) during Boston's four-game Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies, with four RBI, three walks and a team-high six runs to earn MVP honors. Red Sox fans were still celebrating at Coors Field when they began chanting for management to re-sign Lowell and ignore the temptations offered by AL MVP Alex Rodriguez, alternating chants of "Re-sign Lowell!" with chants of "Don't sign A-Rod!"
During the team's victory parade, Ramirez also cast a vote for the incumbent: "Forget about A-Rod," he yelled, "we've got Mike Lowell in the house!"
A four-time All-Star, Lowell was the honorary grand marshal at a Disney World parade last week.
"Mike is a heck of a teammate. I just saw him down in Disney World," teammate Ortiz told redsox.com on Sunday at an event to raise money for victims of Hurricane Noel. "Mike helped us out so much, and hopefully they can get everything done with him and have him back for years."