The Boston Globeâ€™s Peter Abraham set the media room at the MLB Winter Meetings all a twitter with news from a source that stated Carl Crawford was staying in the AL East, but moving up north to Boston. The Red Sox and Crawford agreed yesterday on a seven year contract worth a reported $142 million.
A long-time nemesis of the Red Sox, Crawford becomes their likely starting left fielder, and joins a particularly crowded outfield. Fellow speedster Jacoby Ellsbury and youngster Ryan Kalish likely form the trio that will patrol Fenway Parkâ€™s outfield spaces long term. Kalish though will likely start 2010 in AAA Pawtucket, while veterans JD Drew and Mike Cameron play out the final year of their respective contracts.
The addition of Crawford comes on the heels of the completed trade and rumored contract Boston gave Adrian Gonzalez at the opening of the winter meetings. The pair are both in their late twenties and should be productive hitters and fielders for the majority of their contracts. Between the pair, Boston has committed over t$300 million for the 2011-2018 seasons.
Boston surrenders its first round draft selection to Tampa Bay. In addition the Rays will get an extra pick in the supplemental first round of the draft as compensation for the loss of Crawford, who had become the face of the Rays franchise. Tampa Bay has already lost first baseman Carlos Pena, catcher Dioner Navarro and reliever Joaquin Benoit to free agency. They have also dealt shortstop Jason Bartlett to San Diego in exchange for relief pitchers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos.
More moves out of Tampa Bay are expected as the club has been shopping starter Matt Garza. Despite making the playoffs for the second time in the last three years, the Rays have needed to trim payroll. With seven free agents, each of whom declined the clubâ€™s offer of arbitration, now is their chance to load up on draft picks and plan for their next chance to contend.
Boston picks up and outfielder of considerable ability. While lacking power (his career best home run out put is 19) he makes up for it with speed on the bases. Crawford has led the American League in triples and stolen bases four times each. Last season he batted .307/.356/.495 in 657 plate appearances. For his career he has been a .296/.337/.444 hitter over nine seasons.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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