Carl Crawford's Immediate Impact In Boston -- A Quick Look

Sometimes I hate being the guy who cares about the contracts in baseball.

I mean, consider the situation: the Red Sox had just offered up to their fanbase a moment of pure Nirvana the likes of which are rarely achieved in sports. With the afterglow of the Adrian Gonzalez deal far from faded, bam! Carl Crawford signs from out of nowhere. That's the year's top free agent batter, and the top batter on the trade market in 72 hours' time.

My first reaction? "Wow, that's over $40 million to a pair of 36-year-olds."

For once, shut up, me.

Right now I don't want to think about the possibility of what Crawford could become. I want to think about what he is, and what he means for this team. Not just that, but what he means for this team compared to the 2010 team. I have a feeling it's good news.

Last year's outfield started with Jacoby Ellsbury in left, Mike Cameron in center, and J.D. Drew in right. It ended in Mass General's ICU.

The Red Sox only ended up receiving a little over 200 games from those three outfielders--mostly from Drew--eventually running through 11 different players over the year. The results were about what you could expect from such a...diverse group: 28th in the majors in fielding by UZR (-23.4), worst by DRS (-41), and 3rd worst wOBA in the American League (.324), ahead of only the Athletics and Mariners.

Ouch

So let's take all the contributions of the left fielders, and turn them into Carl Crawford. 11 runs below average offensively? 19 below average defensively?

Crawford was worth 32 runs offensively last year (9th best amongst outfielders, for those skeptics of Crawford's offense), and 18 defensively. For those who don't care to do the math, the difference is 80 runs, or about 8 wins.

Carl Crawford would have changed last year's team from an 89-73 team missing the playoffs to a 97-65 division winner.

An exact science? No. Maybe Crawford's defensive value will take a hit thanks to playing in left field (if he does).  Maybe somehow Fenway doesn't end up helping his numbers. Maybe Adrian Beltre somehow manages to break his ribs.

But it still sounds pretty nice.

And did I mention we got that Adrian Gonzalez guy?

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