(Moving this back up top, in case anyone missed it.)
According to a tweet from Peter Abraham, the Red Sox have signed Carl Crawford to a 7-year, $142 million deal. Ken Rosenthal has confirmed the report.
I'm almost as shocked by the stealth with which this was accomplished as by the figures of the signing itself. Even the very quiet John Lackey deal was caught when he came to town for a physical. Just earlier today, at least one source was reporting that Crawford was almost guaranteed to sign with the Angels, and Theo was saying the Sox weren't close on anything.
Crawford, 29, brings his fantastic glove to the Red Sox' outfield while packing a good contact bat and speed that combined for a .851 OPS last year. The biggest issue for Crawford comes against lefties, who held him to a line of just .256/.312/.384. C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee have been particularly difficult for Crawford to solve, though he's seen marked improvements against Sabathia and has fared well against Andy Pettitte these past two years.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Crawford will be his willingness to play center field. With Fenway's left field being cramped as it is, Crawford could stand to lose much of his value by playing in front of the Monster. In years past, he has reacted negatively to any attempt to move him to center, though $20 million could change that in a hurry.
A Type-A free agent, Crawford will cost the Red Sox their first round draft pick. This might make the team less reluctant to make moves on other Type-A free agents like Scott Downs.