Cheap Seats

Hot stove set to boil

It took a while for the hot stove to heat up. But once it got going, it really got going.

The top free agent pitcher, John Lackey, defected from the Angels to the Red Sox, which makes one wonder if that $85-million commitment means that Boston no longer plans to spend big on a corner outfielder like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay... Or if it means they can check getting a starter off their shopping list and now they're ready to move on to the next thing.

Word today is that the Angels are close to inking DH Hideki Matsui to a deal to fill the hole in their lineup that they had been eyeing Bay for.

The Mets have a four-year offer on the table to Bay and it is said they might be willing to go to five seasons to get a deal done. If he signs with the NL New Yorkers, it would seem that the market for Matt Holliday is getting pretty darn shallow.

The Yankees, who haven't made any public moves toward Holliday, are known for jumping in late. But agent Scott Boras has to know that if the Cardinals pass on his client that he's not going to get a big dollar deal when the Yanks know they are the only game in town.

Of course, the biggest deal of the day wasn't even a free agent signing. The Phillies traded post season hero Cliff Lee to the Mariners in a three-way swap that brought Roy Halladay over from Toronto.