Right-hander John Lackey, who was 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA last season for the St. Louis Cardinals, on Friday agreed to a two-year free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs, a deal valued between $32 million and $34 million, according to Fox Sports and MLB Network.
The signing is contingent on Lackey passing a physical.
Lackey, 37, will rejoin former Boston Red Sox teammates Jon Lester and David Ross. He will provide the Cubs with a solid No. 3 starter behind Lester and National League Cy Young Award-winner Jake Arrieta. Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks, for the time being, are the Nos. 4 and 5 starters.
The Cardinals expected to lose Lackey via free agency and now are left with a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Jaime Garcia. Lance Lynn will miss all of the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery two weeks ago.
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St. Louis is expected to be in the market for a starting pitcher at the annual winter meetings, scheduled for next week in Nashville, with right-handers Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija and Yovani Gallardo possibly being on its shopping list.
The Cubs will lose their first-round draft pick to the Cardinals for the signing of Lackey since the Cardinals made a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Lackey, which he rejected.
Lackey made 33 starts last season, working a staff-high 218 innings. He walked 58 and struck out 153. He was traded to the Cardinals on July 31, 2014, with minor-league pitcher Corey Littrell for outfielder-first baseman Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly.
Lackey is 165-127 with a 3.92 ERA in 13 seasons with the Anaheim and Los Angeles Angels, Boston and the Cardinals.