Blog Entry

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Posted on: December 8, 2010 11:47 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 2:27 am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox struck again in a stunning late night move Wednesday, agreeing to terms with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford on a seven-year, $142 million contract. The deal is contingent on Crawford passing a physical exam, which is scheduled to happen on Thursday.

The move is the second monumental deal in a week for the Red Sox, who acquired slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego last weekend.

The reaction in the lobby at the Swan and Dolphin Resort here in the minutes before midnight as news of the Red Sox/Crawford deal broke was one of pure shock.

And, it should have been. Nobody, not even the hundreds of trained baseball professionals gathered here at the winter meetings, saw this one coming.

The Red Sox, spending so much money over the past six days that it would have made the late George Steinbrenner blush, have added two of the game's premier offensive stars, each of whom owns Gold Gloves and together add a perfect blend of speed and power.

This to a lineup that already ranked second in the American League in runs scored last year, and though the Sox already had lost Victor Martinez (Detroit) and Adrian Beltre (free agent), Crawford and Gonzalez, on paper at least, make Boston even more dangerous.

The Red Sox's moves not only are enough to give the Yankees acid reflux, it makes it imperative that New York close a deal with free agent ace left-hander Cliff Lee.

Because Boston's rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka is far, far superior, as things currently stand, to the Yankees' CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Three Schmoes Praying Not to Lose.

Crawford, 29, becomes the second-highest paid outfielder in the history of major-league baseball, behind another Boston outfielder -- Manny Ramirez, who signed an eight-year, $160 million deal before the 2001 season. But the average annual value of Crawford's deal -- $20.28 million -- surpasses Ramirez's $20 million.

Which is an absolutely jaw-dropping feat, given that Crawford never has had a 20-homer season.

Meantime, not only have the Red Sox struck a mighty blow against the hated Yankees, they put a major hurt on the Los Angeles Angels, who were considered heavy favorites to sign the outfielder who became a free agent this winter after a long run with the Tampa Bay Rays.

"That hurts my heart, man," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter told in a late-night telephone conversation Wednesday. "That hurts my heart. But hey, what can you do? You've just got to go on to the next one.

"Congratulations to him. He deserves it."

Crawford last season led the American League with 13 triples and was fourth in the league with 110 runs scored. A four-time All-Star, in 154 games for the Rays, Crawford batted .307 with 19 home runs, 90 RBIs and 47 steals.

He has led the AL in steals four times, and his 105 triples lead all active major leaguers.

Crawford and Gonzalez together will give manager Terry Francona two more huge weapons to deploy in a lineup that already includes Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and an aging -- but still dangerous -- David Ortiz.

"That's crazy," Hunter said. "I'm disappointed, man. I really wanted to play with him."

Some in the industry were sure that the Red Sox would veer in a direction other than Crawford after they acquired Gonzalez over the weekend.

Though a 48-hour negotiating window the Red Sox had with Gonzalez expired on Sunday without a contract extension, word here at the winter meetings is that Gonzalez and the Sox have agreed on the framework of a multi-year deal that will be announced sometime after Opening Day 2011. That way, the Sox can delay the millions they will owe in luxury tax until 2012.

The parameters of the Sox/Gonzalez deal are seven years at $154 million, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions. Combined, the Red Sox in the past six days have committed a total of $302 million to Crawford and Gonzalez.

"They have made some serious improvements," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the YES Network's Jack Curry late Wednesday night. "They are going to make it tough on us."

Because of the Gonzalez deal, many in the industry had handicapped the Angels as the clear favorites to land Crawford, though Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals figured to extend the Crawford negotiating process.

However, a source close to Crawford said earlier Wednesday that he was getting antsy to sign and remove the uncertainty from his future. And late Wednesday night, he certainly did that.

The Angels are believed to have offered Crawford a six-year deal for somewhere in the $105- to $110-million range. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had dinner with Crawford and his representatives earlier this week, but the Yankees have been concentrating on ace pitcher Cliff Lee and it is not believed that they made an offer to Crawford.

Texas also had made contact with Crawford, a move some were watching given the fact that Crawford is from Houston and lives there during the offseason. But the Rangers, like the Yankees, are primarily focused right now on Lee.

The move is another crushing winter blow to the Angels, who were out-bid on both Mark Teixeira and Sabathia by the Yankees before the 2009 season.

Now, they lose Crawford -- a player they were supremely confident would gravitate their way -- to the Red Sox.

And the real question now becomes, even at this early stage of the winter, whether anybody can keep pace with the Red Sox in 2011.

That, or who in the world the Red Sox are going to land next.


Since: Dec 9, 2010
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:46 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

it would be great to sign cliff lee as well ,... and no more world baseball classic for dice k

Since: Feb 23, 2010
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:37 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

This does not guarantee anything!!!! The fall from up top is far. Let's see these guys live up to the pressure!

Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:24 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Now the next steps are:  Pettite retires and anyone but the Yankees sign Lee.  It will be delightful to watch the Yankees twist in the wind all year.

Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:17 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Wow...I never would have thought Crawford would garner such a high price.  Good for him.  I could make the tired argument of the rich get richer but why bother. Can't wait to see how the Yankees respond...300 mil to bruce lee?  err cliff lee...

Since: Apr 13, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:06 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Can't wait to see this SOB hit one into the triangle and fly around the bases.  These two signings are huge. Two perennial great players in the prime of their carriers. Don't assume they are done either. A top tier starter, most likely via trade, could be next. 

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:00 pm

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

I`m so tired of all the "don`t blame the Red Sawx" they had to spend b/c the Yankees started it.  First off great move, way to step up genius boy Theo. These teams spend b/c they are making mad $$ and their fans demand a title contender now every year...yeah crazy thought Bostonians who were around prior to 2000. Crawford makes that lineup crazy good with his speed and hitting. Since I don`t see Ellsbury leaving I`m assuming he`ll be in CF and old man Cmaeron will either being shipped out of bench scum to play as fragile JD Drew misses his many games for no real reason. I can`t imagine pitching against the top part of that lineup all year. Good luck scrubs like AJ Burnett ect. Moving on Boo-Hoo Tampay Bay Devil Dogs!!!!!  We don`t wanna hear about the small market, horrible stadium, bandwagon fans or anything from you.  Hvae that goof ball manager of yours coach up all those top draft picks you earned as a basement dweller. Clearly the yanks will sign Lee and the division war will continue as is.        

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: December 9, 2010 11:59 am

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Baseball sucks!  I want to like the game but the same broken record of NY and Boston spending money is dead tired.

Since: Oct 10, 2010
Posted on: December 9, 2010 11:59 am

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Thats a lot of freakin money for werth and crawford, imagine what pujols gets.  27-28 million per yr?

Since: Aug 13, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2010 11:59 am

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

also I dont fault the Yankees with spending but yankee fans you try this everytime the sox pick someone up. You all come crying see you guys spend too. I know the sox spend more than everybody but 1 but that 1 is iin there division obvioussly they have to spend, no choice in the matter unless they wanted a failing business. The fact is the Red Sox got rid of a couple guys with big salaries and added 1 big salary for 2011 and then going forward with A-gon they will have ORTIZ, DREW & Scutaro leaving and replacing 2 of them with farm system players in Kalish and Inglesias. There Salariy will not go up a big amount if any at all, you watcch. Again though if a team has it t spend they should, why not bring big names in, the yankees have proven it sells and makes more money to spend.

Since: Aug 13, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2010 11:52 am

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

Red Sox stun baseball world, sign Crawford

"No matter how much the Sox spend they will lose. The Pirates have won more World Series in the last 50 years than the Red Sox. Yes the sox have won 2 in the last 10 anf look like their going to make a run again but their pitching will not match up in a short series. The strongest teams have the strongest pitching"

PIRATES ARE A FARM SYSTEM FOR MLB- Dont care about 40 years ago

If your going to pull some number out of the air why 50 years, why not back 150 idiot, because 50 fits your arguement, Well the the sox have won as much recently as any team in baseball. Does this make them a lock for WS, no for the playoffs, yeah you bet your azz it does. Do you see Bucholz last year, or have you been following Jon Lesters career. They are aces on most teams pitching staffs. Beckett was fihgting injuries all year and though Lackey didnt pitch up to expectation he still won games for the sox. 1 or both of those will have a bounce back year. With  the Red Sox bats your crazy if you dont think they just set themselves up for the next 5-7 years with 2 number 1's at the top of the Rotation and group of young All-Stars in Crawford, A-gon, Pedroia, Ellsbury, & Youkilis. That core right there out matches any young core in baseball right now and its not like they are going to ouspend what they did last year because for 2011 season the Red Sox will be spending less than last year with the exits of Lowell, V-mart & Beltre and the fact that the A-gon contract extension wont be in place until after opening day so his salary next year will be about 6 million and then after that in 2012 Ortiz and Drew & Scutaro will be gone. Thats 40  Million off the books next year, so the Red Sox Salary will still never sniff within 50 million of the Yankess. Inglesias will come up at short and Kalish in Left.  We let people go and resigned FA, Yankees Signed there own FA spending 30 Million on Jeter and Mariano, whats the difference. You will see the Payrolls and nothing has really changed in dollar amount until the yankees add Lee and they be far and away outspending everyone else again.

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