Editor's Note #1: Happy holidays to you and yours and here's to a prosperous 2011
Editor's Note #2: You will have to take me at my word that I did not plan on coinciding Crawford's player bio with Christmas day. Irony sometimes just works. See below for the Red Sox 142 million Christmas present
Name: Crawford, Carl
#: ?? (13)
Age (4/1/11): 29
Size: 6' 2" 215 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a FA on Decc 11, 2010
Contract: $14,000,000 (2012 - 2017: 19.5, 20, 20.25, 20.5, 20.75, 21)
Comments: Consisdered by many the top FA position player on the market this off-season, Crawford was far from most Sox fan's radar when it came to acquisitions. On December 11th the Sox brass pulled a fast one on the rest of the league and signed Crawford to a 7 year deal, this on the heels of the blockbuster trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford is truly one of the few "5-tool" talents playing the game today. At age 29 he is a blend of offense, mixing both speed and power, and defense. In 2010, for the Rays, Crawford posted a 6.9 WAR which was good enough for 9th in the majors. He went double-digit across the extrabase line (30-13-19), scored 110 runs and was only 10 RBI away from 100 with 90. His 46 stolen bases were good for 4th in the majors. As a fielder, he is largely conisidered the best defensive LFer in the game. Crawford does have his weaknesses in (a) his limited ability to take walks (career 0.337 OBP) and his continued struggles against lefthanded pitchers (career 0.690 OPS).
Unique Stat: Since his first full year in the majors in 2004, Crawford has the highest cummulative UZR in the majors at 96.4 (Andruw Jones is second at 90.8). He has only had one season of a UZR < 10.
Analysis: Although he was signed for large sums of money for many years, I will only speculate on what Crawford brings to the Sox for 2011. Crawford will be hitting doubles and triples aplenty from a spot, most likely the near top of the Sox lineup. Look for him to score runs aplenty in this lineup. He teams with Jacoby Ellsbury to create a disruptive duo on the basepaths (see his 6 steal game vs Boston). He will likely continue his struggles against lefties but I think Sox fans are going to like what he brings both offensively and defensively in 2011. A batting line of 650 AB, 120 R, 190 H, 40 2B, 12 3B, 20 HR, 85 RBI, 40 SB is not out of the question.
Tomorrow: Felix Doubront