Scratch one big name free agent off of the list. Ian Browne of MLB.com announced that the Boston Red Sox signed outfielder Carl Crawford 7-year $142 million dollar deal. This signing gives the Red Sox a multiple of advantages.
Most importantly Crawford gives the Red Sox a stellar outfielder who will solidify an outfield that was decimated by injuries during the 2010 season. Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew all spent time on the disabled list causing the Red Sox to dip into their minor league system and rely on various players to fill the gaps. The signing further depletes the Tampa Bay Rays who have already lost Carlos Peña, Juaquin Benoit and Dioner Navarro to free-agency, Jason Bartlett to a trade and Rafael Soriano remains unsigned. To most of the Red Sox nation, the most important part of the signing is that the hated New York Yankees will not get Crawford.
In 2010, Crawford batted .307 with 19HRs and 90 RBI. In 600 at-bats Crawford had 184 hits (30 2B/13 3B/19 HR) with 104 strikeouts, 47 walks and 47 stolen bases. His OPS was .851 (.356 OBP%/.495 SLG%). Defensively Crawford made 2 errors in the field with 7 assists for a fielding percentage of .994. Crawford was an All-Star this past season and earned his first Golden Glove and Silver Slugger award.
In nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford has a .296 batting average with 104 HRs and 592 RBI. Crawford has 1,480 hits (215 2B/105 3B/104 HR) and 409 stolen bases. Defensively, Crawford has a career .991 fielding percentage. Crawford is a 4-time All-Star and has led the American League in triples and stolen bases four times each.
I believe the key to the Red Sox next season is staying healthy. The moves of signing Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez will definitely help but the team has to stay healthy in order to make the postseason. Here is the lineup from where I see it:
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Jason Varitek
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Marco Scutaro
3B Kevin Youkalis
LF Carl Crawford
CF Jacoby Ellsbury/Mike Cameron
RF J.D. Drew
Add the pitching rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mix and the Boston Red Sox move to the top of the list of teams to beat in the American League.
For Further Reading
- Click Here to access Peter Abraham's article Sox sign up Crawford for $142m from Boston.com dated December 9, 2010
- Click Here to watch Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe talk about the Crawford signing
- Click Here to access Ian Browne's article Red Sox fire another salvo, add Crawford from MLB.com dated December 10, 2010
- Click Here to access Toni Massarotti's article Red Sox speak loudly, carry big sticks from Boston.com dated December 9, 2010
- Click Here to access Carl Crawford's career statistics from Baseball Reference.com