Thursday, December 09, 2010
You've got to hand it to the owners of the Red Sox. They've figured this market out. They know that we, as a fanbase, are clamoring for drastic improvements to the team. They know that after a "bridge season," we wanted some big splashes.
The Sox have (reportedly) signed Carl Crawford to a 7 year deal worth $142 million. Last year, Crawford was 9th in the AL with a .307 average, and 2nd with 47 stolen bases. He won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award. He was thought by many (including myself) to be the best position player free agent out there.
As someone who has never been sold on Jacoby Ellsbury, I really love this acquisition. Crawford is a better fielder, with much better range. He's also a slightly better hitter, with a proven track-record.
Let's tone down the exuberance a bit, though. Crawford is very good. That 9th place batting average, though, comes with the 20th best OBP (.364), which was a career high. His .337 career OBP doesn't impress me much. So maybe $20+ million per year is a bit much?
Think about it. He's now the 7th highest paid player in the game. Who are the 6 guys ahead of him? Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, and Mark Teixeira. Those are some pretty good players. Is Crawford as good as these guys? I don't think so.
There's also a few too many lefties in the Sox lineup now. That's nit-picking, but it's a fact.
So I'm happy the Sox signed Crawford. The lineup could look like this:
1. CF Crawford
2. 2B Pedroia
3. 1B Gonzalez
4. 3B Youkilis
5. DH Ortiz
6. RF Drew
7. LF Ellsbury
8. SS Scutaro
9. C Varitek
It looks like a real lineup now. I'm still not sold on the pitching, and therefore not sold on the Sox. But maybe the offense is getting good enough that the pitching can stink in a few regular season games, and the team will still win. Emphasis on "regular season," because games like that are exceedingly rare in the playoffs.