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John Lackey rumors: Several teams interested in veteran right-hander

The 37-year-old is coming off his best season in nearly a decade and has quite a few suitors on the free agent market.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There are at least a half dozen teams interested in veteran right-hander John Lackey, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

Playing with the Cardinals in 2015, Lackey had his best season since 2007, the campaign that earned him his lone All-Star appearance. He pitched 218 innings last season with a 2.77 ERA and 1.21 WHIP and a 3.57 FIP. He walked 53 and struck out 175, finishing ninth in NL Cy Young voting.

Lackey made just the league minimum last season thanks to a clause in the contract he signed with Boston prior to 2010 that activated an option for 2015 at the league minimum if he missed time with an elbow injury at any point in the deal. Lackey missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Perhaps the most interesting of the possible destinations for Lackey listed by Rosenthal is a reunion with the Boston Red Sox, with whom Lackey won a World Series in 2013. Lackey pitched parts of four seasons with the Red Sox, with a 4.46 ERA in 701⅔ innings and 111 starts. Boston signed Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal in his first time in free agency after the 2009 season, though it would not take that significant of a financial commitment this time around.

At Fangraphs, both Dave Cameron and Carson Cistulli have Lackey returning to the Cardinals on a two-year deal, though Cistulli is more bullish on the amount Lackey will receive, predicting $30 million compared to Cameron's $26 million. Meanwhile, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman projects a three-year deal for Lackey at $42 million, though he does not specify a destination.

Given both Lackey's recent success and his long track record, it seems there is a robust market for him of contenders looking to round out their starting rotations.