Tag:Carl Crawford
Posted on: December 4, 2010 2:31 am
Edited on: December 4, 2010 2:46 am
 

Red Sox in serious talks for SD's Adrian Gonzalez

The on-again, off-again talks between the Red Sox and the Padres involving Adrian Gonzalez, an oldie-but-goodie first discussed at the July trade deadline in 2009, are back on in a big way.

Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com late Friday night that the two clubs are discussing a blockbuster that would send a package of prospects to the Padres in exchange for Gonzalez, the three-time All-Star who is entering the final year of his contract in 2011 before he becomes eligible for free agency.

The Red Sox, under general manager Theo Epstein, have taken multiple runs at acquiring Gonzalez going all the way back to '09. At this moment, they appear closer to landing the slugger than they ever have before. There were indications late Friday night that a deal possibly could even be reached before the clubs get too deep into next week's winter meetings that begin in Orlando on Monday.

Traveling parallel paths in looking for a big hitter, the Red Sox this week have spoken with free agents Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. With Kevin Youkilis reportedly working out at third base this winter, the Sox would have the flexibility, if they do not re-sign Beltre, to move Youkilis across the diamond and plug in Gonzalez at first base.

Of course, in negotiations, things are not always what they seem, and the Red Sox currently are juggling enough possibilities that a well-timed run at Gonzalez also could be designed to break the will of Beltre and cause him to lower his asking price and re-sign with them sooner rather than later. Theoretically, with Beltre in the fold, Youkilis would stay at first base and the Red Sox could turn away from the San Diego talks.

However, late Friday night, that's not the way Boston appeared to be moving. Conversations with the Padres were said to have gained momentum throughout the day on Friday.

While neither San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer nor Gonzalez could be reached for comment, a couple of things are in play here:

One, Gonzalez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after the season ended, has not given any indication that he's amenable to signing a long-term deal with San Diego for a discounted price.

And two, the Padres, surprise winners of 90 games in 2010, likely realize that their optimal time to move him is now, when they surely would receive a bigger package of players in return than they would in July, when Gonzalez might be a three-month rental for a contending team.

While trading Gonzalez would be a public relations disaster for a San Diego club whose attendance already was disappointing in 2010, the Padres have been taking on water this winter, anyway.

Already, they've lost three key pieces from a team that managed to stay in contention all the way to the last day of last season: Pitcher Jon Garland has signed with the division-rival Dodgers, infielder Miguel Tejada has signed with the division-rival Giants and catcher Yorvit Torrealba has fled to Texas.

As things stand now, the Padres have serious holes in their rotation and in their middle infield. And the 2011 payroll is not projected to rise much beyond the low $40 millions. In 2010, only the Pirates had a lower payroll than San Diego.

Consequently, despite their surprise season in 2010, the Padres appear to be veering more toward rebuilding with young pieces -- witness their acquisition of outfielder Cameron Maybin from Florida earlier this winter -- than toward contending again.

Much as it would be unpalatable to the local fans to see Gonzalez, a San Diego native, dealt, he currently appears on a dead-end course with the Padres, and trading him clearly is their best shot at quickly accumulating three or four players who would either be major-league ready, or help fertilize the upper-levels of a weak farm system.

Among the Red Sox's prospects who would be the most attractive to San Diego are pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Hoyer, who just completed his first season as Padres' GM, and his assistant Jason McLeod, each worked under Epstein in Boston through the end of the 2009 season. As scouting director for the Red Sox, McLeod knows their system exceedingly well. The Epstein-Hoyer relationship is another reason why many in the industry have predicted Gonzalez would wind up in Fenway Park since Hoyer replaced Kevin Towers in the GM's chair.

Though the Padres picked up Gonzalez's $5.5 million contract for 2011, there remain no indications that he will be a San Diego lifer. Gonzalez is looking for Ryan Howard-Mark Teixeira-Albert Pujols money, a six- or seven-year deal worth somewhere north of $20 million a year.

The Padres sent strong signals that they intended to trade Gonzalez last year until their unexpectedly good season caused them to keep that team together. Though Gonzalez is a local hero and a highly popular Hispanic player for a team that draws from Mexico, there were zero promotions for Gonzalez during the 2010 season. No cover of the media guide, no bobble-head nights, no posters, nothing. It was a strong signal that he was not in their long-term plans.

Gonzalez last year batted .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBI despite being bothered by a damaged right shoulder beginning in May. With two good shoulders in '09, Gonzalez crushed 40 home runs with 99 RBI.

With numbers like that in the cavernous Petco Park, you can't blame the Red Sox for dreaming about the damage the lefty swinging Gonzalez could do in Fenway Park -- especially with David Ortiz moving into the, ahem, twilight of his career.

Some 16 months after the Red Sox first started talking with the Padres about Gonzalez, they appear closer than ever to making that happen. And they still would have money left for either Werth or Crawford.

 

Posted on: December 2, 2010 2:01 pm
 

Red Sox recruiting Crawford, Werth hard

The Red Sox, looking to add an impact outfielder to their lineup this winter, are taking their cuts: After meeting with free agent Carl Crawford in Houston recently, the traveling road show continued when general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona met with free agent Jayson Werth and his representatives in Chicago on Wednesday evening, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

There are no indications that a deal is close with either player, as sources say the discussions are "continuing." Plus, both Crawford and Werth remain highly sought after by other clubs.

Crawford remains the Angels' top target as well, and owner Arte Moreno and Co. continue to put on a full-court press. Though the Angels have been linked to free agent closer Rafael Soriano as well, Crawford remains far and away their top priority. One source with knowledge of the Angels plans says they want Crawford "bad."

Either Werth or Crawford would play well in Fenway Park, which is why Epstein and Francona have made the rounds from Houston to Chicago. It is believed that Scott Boras, Werth's agent, also conducted talks with other clubs while in Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Posted on: October 27, 2008 6:09 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2008 7:32 pm
 

Joe Maddon tweaks scuffling Rays lineup

PHILADELPHIA -- Two of his most dependable sluggers buried in an 0-for-29 hole, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has shuffled his Game 5 lineup as the Rays attempt to push this World Series back to Florida.

The lineup changes for Monday night are not drastic, but Maddon did bump Carlos Pena (0-for-13, six strikeouts) from third to fourth and Evan Longoria (0-for-16 with nine strikeouts) from fourth to fifth.

Left fielder Carl Crawford, meantime, is hitting second (instead of fifth), which pushes center fielder B.J. Upton to third (from second).

Crawford is one of the few players hitting for the Rays, who are batting .187 overall as a team in this World Series. Crawford is hitting .267 with two homers and two RBI.

"It's bumping Carl up as much as anything, too," Maddon said. "I wanted to get Carl up there, and he's been a successful two-place hitter for us. And I wanted to unfreeze those two guys a little bit. The fact that they've had a little bit of problems in the normal slots for both of them, I thought just by giving them a little different perspective today may help."

Earlier this season, Maddon gave Pena a game off when he was slumping. There's no time for that now, though. It's called adjust on the fly. Maddon thinks both Pena and Longoria are pressing, and while the Phillies are making good pitches on them, his theory is that his guys simply are not waiting for what may be given to them.

"I see them getting themselves out more than anything," Maddon said. "I'm not denigrating the Phillies' game plan. I think it's wonderful. I know exactly what they're trying to do. From our perspective, we're permitting them."

How?

"When you're making outs on strikes, your kind of pitch, that's one thing," Maddon continued. "But when you're making outs on their pitches, primarily ... again, it speaks to organizing your strikes on seeing pitches."

 

Posted on: October 22, 2008 1:52 pm
 

And away we go

ST. PETERSBURG -- You're going to hear a lot over these next seven-to-10 days about how the Philadelphia Phillies have an "American League-style lineup."

What that means is that they have the ability to put a lot of runs on the board in a hurry. They're deep and they're powerful. They've got speed and power atop the lineup in Jimmy Rollins. They've got a rugged middle of the lineup with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell.

But here's my question: If the Phillies' lineup is so AL-oriented, then why did they go 4-11 in Interleague Play this season? In five series against AL teams, they didn't win one.

Two of the five AL teams they faced qualified for postseason -- Boston (against whom the Phillies were 1-2) and the Los Angeles Angels (0-3). Three were not -- Oakland (1-2), Texas (1-2) and Toronto (1-2).

This isn't a knock on the Phillies, who are playing their best baseball of the season and easily could win this series if they keep it up. It is an indictment of the NL, which simply still isn't as strong as the AL.

Tampa Bay has an AL-style lineup, too. And center fielder B.J. Upton and third baseman Evan Longoria have combined to wallop 13 home runs and collect 26 RBI so far this postseason.

It's no wonder, then, that one of the main points of the report turned in by Philadelphia scouts for the Phillies to digest going into this World Series is that the pitching staff must keep the ball in the ballpark against Rays hitters. The Phillies think they can be successful if their pitchers stay away from predictable pitch selection patterns, which would keep Longoria, Upton, Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford and the rest of the Tampa Bay hitters off-balance.

If Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Co. can establish themselves, it's the Phillies who could win this series with the long ball. They ranked second in the majors in homers, trailing only the Chicago White Sox.

The keys to this series, for me, are these:

-- Game 1. Philadelphia has not played a game in a week. Similar layoffs did no favors for Colorado (eight days) in last year's World Series or Detroit (six days) in 2006. If the Phillies' hitters have their timing Wednesday night, that will be a terrific sign for them. If they look lost against Scott Kazmir, it could be a sign of rust, and it could be a scramble for Philadelphia to turn it around.

-- The bullpens. With complete games having gone the way of the stock market, so many postseason games turn now somewhere between the sixth and eighth innings. We know Philadelphia is air-tight late with Ryan Madson (who handles the eighth innings) and closer Brad Lidge. The wild card is Tampa Bay phenom David Price. The Phillies saw what the rest of us saw in the ALCS: Rays relievers Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell are beginning to show wear and tear. That could leave Tampa Bay vulnerable -- or it could leave an effective Price as a breakout star.

-- Jamie Moyer. Philadelphia's Game 3 starter has gotten clobbered in the postseason. In two games, against Milwaukee and the Dodgers, he's served up eight runs and 10 hits in only 5 1/3 innings. He didn't make it out of the second in his NLCS start in Los Angeles. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says he never considered not starting Moyer in the World Series, and the soft-tossing lefty is not a charity case: He led Philadelphia's staff during the season with 16 wins. But finesse pitchers are exceptionally risky in the postseason. There are no easy outs, and if a guy's touch is off even by a little bit ... look out.

There will be a harsh glare on Tampa Bay's kids, but they've responded to every challenge this season and I think they will respond again. None of the past four World Series has lasted longer than five games, and three of them have been sweeps.

I think this goes a bit longer, and I think the AL superiority again will be evident.

Tampa Bay in 6.

 

Posted on: August 13, 2008 11:52 pm
 

Carl Crawford: See you in October?

No need to wait until season's end. We've already got a winner in the Most Unfair Moment of the Season.

It'll happen Thursday, when Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford undergoes hand surgery that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season.

How about that one?

Guy plays his guts out year after year for teams that, if they weren't going to lose 100 games, they sure were going to give it a try.

He's a two-time All-Star, a four-time AL stolen base champion, an all-around good guy.

And now, just when things are finally starting to get good in Tampa Bay, Crawford must leave?

You know what I think of when I think of Crawford? This spring, making the rounds from camp to camp, I was talking with the Angels' Torii Hunter when the subject turned to players who are pleasures to watch.

"Know who I really like to watch?" Hunter asked.

"Who?"

"Carl Crawford, because he plays all-out all the time."

"Do you know him pretty well?"

The answer came back quickly: No. Not at all.

That really registered. To me, that's one of the highest compliments a guy could ever offer. Many players around the league will say good things about their friends.

But for a player to volunteer how much he enjoys watching another guy play … and he doesn't even know that guy? That's as pure as it gets.

I don't know whether the Rays will hang onto their AL East lead, but I do know this: These next three or so weeks are as crucial as any three-week stretch in franchise history.

Because not only is Crawford out, but the Rays have placed rookie smash Evan Longoria on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his wrist.

The Rays think Longoria can return to the lineup by Sept. 1 -- thus, my three-week assessment. But if Longoria is out longer, the Rays' task only gets more difficult.

As Rays manager Joe Maddon said earlier this year, "We're not just trying to be a member of the standings. We're trying to be at the top."

For Crawford's sake, after the season they've put together, the Rays deserve to be there. That way, Crawford can re-join them for some October fun.

Likes: Six weeks left, and five of the six divisions remain up for grabs (I'm taking a wild leap here and awarding the AL West to the Angels). It's dizzying attempting to keep up with who's in first in the AL Central. Minnesota and the White Sox have traded places for five consecutive days. … San Diego reliever Heath Bell's T-shirt: "I'm in Shape … Round is a Shape." … Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, ejected again during Wednesday's doubleheader with the Cubs. … Milwaukee's starting pitching. CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets back-to-back in the rotation? The Brewers get to the playoffs, it's not going to be any fun for opposing hitters in a short series. … My new laptop. The old one was so virus-ridden after five years it was like trying to run through quicksand. It's been forever since I've updated Bull Pennings, partly because I took a week off following the All-Star Game and partly because the old computer had become nearly unworkable. … Kid Rock's All Summer Long. Never thought I'd be saying this about Kid Rock, but what a great, great tune.

Dislikes: Foreclosures and gas prices dominating the newspapers each morning.

Rock-N-Roll Lyric of the Day:


"Splashing through the sand bar
"Talking by the campfire
"It's the simple things in life, like when and where
"We didn't have no internet
"But man I never will forget
"The way the moonlight shined upon her hair

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com