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The bulk of this year’s winter meetings were pretty
uneventful, but it was certainly bookended by some craziness out of Beantown.
After officially acquiring superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego
Padres on Monday in a blockbuster deal, the Boston Red Sox again turn heads by
one of the preeminent five-tool players in the game in outfielder Carl Crawford. The deal is worth a staggering $142-million
over the next 7 years and when combined with the expected extension for
Gonzalez, the Red Sox have unofficially committed around $300-million to two
players. I guess John Henry isn’t
hurting from purchasing Liverpool.
The surprising part of this deal is not that Boston signed
Crawford, nor is it that he was signed to the second richest contract ever to
be awarded to an outfielder. The
surprising part is the timing.
<– “Look what I caught, $142-million, BITCH!!”
While most teams interested in Crawford (such as the Angels,
Yankees and Rangers) were waiting for Cliff
Lee to make his decision before committing funds to Crawford, the Red Sox
stepped in and made the deal happen.
They were the only team said to have real interest in the athletic
leftfielder who did not have interest
in Lee, allowing them to swoop in a steal Crawford from under their noses. Something Crawford will be doing a lot of in
Boston. Oh yes, I made a pun.
But this was supposed to be the year that the AL East evened
out a little. The Rays were/are expected
to take a giant step back and both the Orioles and Jays were supposed to be
rising teams ready to take the next step toward contention. Reality has set in quickly.
The Red Sox, at least right now, have to be considered the
favourite while the Yankees will become co-favourites if they’re able to sign
Lee. If the Yankees don’t sign Lee,
there could be an opening for one of the other three teams to jump into Wildcard
contention (probably not Baltimore), but they still have to be considered at
least the second favourite team even if they lose out on him.
By the way, the Red Sox projected lineup as of right now:
3B Kevin Youkilis
Not to mention that they still have Clay Buchholz, Jon
Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka as their projected
That’s just not fair, dammit!
There’s one more negative aspect of the Crawford deal from
the perspective of the Jays; the Red Sox are still interested in lefty reliever
Scott Downs, who is, like Crawford,
a Type-A free agent. If he signs in
Boston, the Jays will not get the Red Sox first round pick as compensation as
that now goes to the Rays. And, oh yeah,
the Jays STILL have to face Crawford 18 times this upcoming season. Bad day.
This by no means tempers my excitement for the 2011 season,
it just seems to signal another 3rd or worse season for Toronto.
Apparently the Angels made an offer to Crawford of 7 years and $108-million
according to a Tweet by Mark
Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Werth definitely
drove up that market. Way to go Rizzo.
Apparently Ken Rosenthal
reported that Lee received a 7 year offer from the Red Sox. Signing Crawford does make that unlikely, but
apparently I was wrong about their interest in Lee.