Red Sox keep World Series MVP Lowell with three-year deal

Updated: November 21, 2007, 12:40 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Mike Lowell and the Boston Red Sox finalized a three-year, $37.5 million deal Tuesday.

Mike Lowell

Lowell

Both sides have been in intense negotiations all Monday. According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, both the Phillies and Dodgers were apparently willing to go to four years, but Lowell wanted to remain in Boston.

"I feel the fans have embraced me, and I feel like I've embraced the fan base of Boston since Day 1," he said.

According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the Phillies engaged the free-agent third baseman in a conference call on Sunday night, where the framework of a four-year, $50 million deal was discussed. After Lowell spoke with general manager Pat Gillick, assistant GM Ruben Amaro and manager Charlie Manuel, there was a period of about an hour or so where it looked like Lowell was going to sign with the Phillies. The offer would have been formalized if Lowell had agreed to the deal.

Gillick last week flatly denied any interest in Lowell and had indicated that they were going to spend the Phillies' available money on pitching.

Sam Levinson, one of his agents, joked about the contract length, asking the first question on a telephone conference call and inquiring whether Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein would add a fourth year.

"Well Sam. I've heard you ask that before," Epstein said, chuckling. "We're going to hold off. We're very happy with the contract that we signed Mike to and look forward to a great three years. Appreciate the interest, though."

Another possibility was the New York Yankees, who wanted Lowell to switch to first and could've hurt their major rival with the signing.

"This utter hatred for the organization I just don't have because they actually helped me in a big way," said Lowell, who was drafted by the Yankees and came up through their organization.

His interest in New York "was somewhat diminished by the fact of moving to first," he said.

Lowell gets $12 million in each of the next three years and a $1.5 million signing bonus.

"The tough part was searching between four years from other teams and three years with the Red Sox, but I can't say that I'm upset with the situation," Lowell said. "I mean, how can you be upset with the money that I'm going to be making in the next three years and with the team that I believe is going to compete for a world title."

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.

"How cool is that?" Red Sox pitcher Schilling posted on his blog. "Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff. Pretty nice to think you are fans in a town that is now a desired destination for athletes across the major sports. Come a long way for sure.

"Congrats to Mike and I've already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say we're all" ecstatic, Schilling said.

Lowell followed a superlative regular season -- career highs in batting average (.324) and RBIs (120) to go with 21 home runs in 154 games -- with an outstanding October. In Boston's four-game sweep of Colorado, Lowell hit .400 (6-for-15) with four RBIs, three walks and a team-high six runs in winning the World Series.

He homered, doubled and scored twice in the Game 4 clincher at Denver's Coors Field en route to being named the World Series MVP.

Lowell, who made $9 million last year, was selected by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 1995 amateur draft. He played eight games for New York in the 1998 season before being dealt to the Florida Marlins in February 1999. He was acquired by Boston from Florida in November 2005 in the Josh Beckett trade.

Lowell's teammates and fans made clear that they wanted to see him back in Boston -- and urged them not to pursue Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who became a free agent before deciding to return to New York.

"Forget about A-Rod. We've got Mike Lowell in the house," Ramirez yelled out during the team's victory parade through Boston.

A four-time All-Star, Lowell was the honorary grand marshal at a Disney World parade last week. In announcing his new contract, the team also said Lowell had been named this year's Thomas A. Yawkey Award recipient, as the team's most valuable player. He becomes just the third Red Sox third baseman to win the award, after Frank Malzone in 1957 and 1959, and Wade Boggs in 1985.

The other remaining Red Sox free agents are backup outfielders Bobby Kielty and Eric Hinske, shortstop Royce Clayton, relievers Eric Gagne and Mike Timlin and backup catcher Doug Mirabelli.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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