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.
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.