Carl Crawford could sign with the Boston Red Sox if the deal is right, and it appears that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein would really like to sign him. The question, though, is whether the Red Sox can still afford Crawford, and if they are willing to offer the star outfielder the number of years he wants in his next contract.
According to ESPN, multiple club sources have confirmed the Red Sox are pursuing Crawford, but it seems like it is being kept under wraps in order to stay out of the public eye. The Red Sox have to fear that the New York Yankees might sweep in and try to sign Crawford, and why shouldn’t they be worried, as the Yankees always seem to have the deepest pockets in baseball.
The one thing that might work against the Red Sox right now is that they might not be willing to offer as many years as other teams when it comes to Crawford’s new contract. Crawford is a player who steals bases (a lot) and has built his career upon being able to take that extra base and run down balls in the outfield. If he were to lose a step in around five years, it could make the final few years of a huge contract look like a pretty bad deal for the team taking that chance.
Red Sox fans have to be ecstatic at the mere thought of having Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the 2011 lineup, especially with Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez hitting behind them. Toss in a healthy Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, and clearly it would be one of the best hitting lineups in all of baseball. It might be tough to pull that off, though, especially with all of the rumored suitors who would love to have Crawford as their left-fielder next year.
Crawford is coming off of a season where he hit .307 with 19 home runs, 90 RBI and 47 stolen bases. He has stolen 50 or more bases in a season five times before, and has 409 since he came into the big leagues. He is still young at just 29 years old as well, which is why he is going to be highly compensated before the free agency period comes to an end. He even ended up winning a Gold Glove this past season, probably adding another digit to the contract he is sure to get.
The Boston Red Sox want Crawford, but now it remains to be seen if he wants to play in Boston, and if the Red Sox can give him the contract he really wants. It’s going to be a great signing for any team that can get him, but it’s definitely going to be expensive as well.