Hard to say which fan base should be celebrating more this morning. The Red Sox added Carl Crawford, but the Phillies added Dennys Reyes (We now have Danys and Dennys). Best position player on the market, or a 2nd tier situational lefty (who gave up a .300 avg to left-handed hitters in 2010)? Maybe Red Sox fans will be a bit more positive. It looks like their front office took that one-year playoff hiatus pretty seriously.
The Crawford deal is massive. Seven years and 142 million. It no doubt was driven a bit northward by Jayson Werth’s huge contract. I guess the happiest guy in the world right now is probably Albert Pujols? If Carl Crawford is worth a shade over 20 million a year, what does Pujols command? Thirty million? Is it time for the Cardinals to prepare for the fact they might not be able to afford him? And, I wonder if some of the guys who signed extensions without testing the water are feeling a twinge of regret? Felix Hernandez? Hell, even Ryan Howard. That deal looks less ridiculous with each contract signed.
It’s a power move by the Red Sox in a winter where they are clearly determined to improve an offense that had lost its thunder. Inserting Crawford and Gonzalez changes things in a hurry. I think the rush will be to crown Boston kings of the AL East once again, but that might be a bit premature. Clearly, they have their best offense now since their World Series winning teams, but before we usher them into the post-season before win #1, maybe we should wait and see if Lackey and Beckett can get anyone out. And, there could be an adjustment period for Crawford and Gonzalez. A lot more eyes on Gonzalez and a lot more pressure on Crawford, having to live up to that deal.
It’s hard to imagine a player of Crawford’s ilk becoming one of the highest paid outfielders in the league. Taking nothing away from his skills, which are considerable, but the biggest money has always been reserved for the home run hitters and the run producers in general. Crawford should be able to produce plenty of runs, but he’s never hit 20 homers in a season. With power numbers in decline around the league, I thought there was still a bit of a premium on power and maybe that explained the Werth contract to a certain extent. There’s a guy with 30-homer potential. But, Crawford’s deal easily trumps his and I’m sure the Red Sox can’t be expecting Crawford to ever go too far north of 20 homers. I guess it was just a thin market, and these guys took advantage.
In terms of the Phillies, it seemed to me that late yesterday they tried to kick up some dust before they left the winter meetings to distract everyone from the news they only signed a marginal left-handed reliever. Ruben Amaro had some comment about how they had some shoot for the moon type deals, or whatever, and somehow the Phillies got attached to Greinke for a minute. I find this a little hard to believe unless Ruben called and offered a John Mayberry package, everyone had a good laugh, and then they hung up. Anyway, it was one good rumor so the Phils can say, “we tried,” even though it looks like they are being incredibly cheap. With the relief situation and with right field. Matt Diaz and Francoeur have signed elsewhere. I’m starting to get the feeling that the premier lefties are a little out of the Phillies’ price range? That they’re trying to get a bit lucky, grab a bargain? Not a good sign when other contenders are handing out nine figure deals like rally towels in October.