Over the last few hours, there have been conflicting emotions regarding the signing of Carl Crawford. Before I discuss pros and cons, I will give you my opinion. Crawford was never my first option, but that was because I was under the assumption the Red Sox would get Jayson Werth. After getting Adrian Gonzalez, I figured Ordonez, Willingham, and Beltran. I was never really all for those guys though. I was thinking, maybe there is a trade out there.
Turns out I forgot Crawford was out there. I had assumed he was in Anaheim/NYY. It appears the Red Sox overpaid for him. But you will always overpay for free agents. Is Mark Teixiera worth $23 mm a season? No. Is John Lackey worth $16 mm a season? No. You will always overpay. Now to compare this to the Washington contract with Werth. I believe the Werth contract is much worse than the Crawford one. First off, Crawford is a better player. Werth has nice power numbers, but Crawford has had a better career. Two, the Red Sox can afford the Crawford deal compared to the Werth one. If the Nationals want another free agent in the future, can they afford one? Even in the draft, which that team should eb focusing on. Could they get another Bryce Harper, Drew Storen? Can they afford it now? Talent or not, the Nationals are not a contending team yet.
Now, what are the pros and cons for the Crawford deal?
First: Crawford is a really good player. He adds multiple dimensions to the Sox lineup. Speed, which other than Ellsbury, the Red Sox do not have. Not as much power, but that may improve at Fenway. But with a lineup with Kevin Youkilis, Gonzalez and Ortiz, Crawford does not have to be a twenty home run guy. I think fifteen is very reasonable.
Another good thing here is you keep him away from the Angels and Yankees. Sure, it might make the Yankees pursuit of Cliff Lee more urgent, but with this lineup, it should be too big of a deal. Besides, the Red Sox are now in on Lee too. I still think Lee will be a Yankee. But the Red Sox have probably a better lineup now, and the rotation is pretty good, so I'll take the trade off.
Obviously years. Seven years is a lot. I must say, I do not like that too much. But I'm thinking if they can get five productive years out of him, it is a good deal. The last two years they can probably afford to give up. Besides, would you sacrifice two years for a few World Series? A lot of people may say no, but I'd rather that than making the playoffs every year in that span with no championships.
The other con is he is a lefty. And unlike Gonzalez, he does not hit lefties well. You have to wonder if a Jacoby Ellsbury deal is in the works. For what I don't know, maybe Carlos Beltran, but the Red Sox probably have a few tricks up their sleeves.
This deal has mostly positives, like the off season. The glaring need is still bullpen. I like Scott Downs a lot, but I'm not sure for three years. He has proven to pitch in the AL East, so I would be fine with him. My guy right now though is Matt Gurerier. I like Pedro Feliciano as well, but I would prefer Downs is that.
Now what will this team look like? Lineup projection:
I like that lineup a lot. I don't know if the Red Sox want Crawford leading off, but without that option you have three lefties batting in a row after Youkilis. This is why I feel Ellsbury will not be here.
All in all, good deal. I'm just glad it's not a bridge year.