Carl Crawford Signs Enormous Seven-Year Deal With Boston Red Sox

At the cost of seven years and $142 million, the Red Sox have given Carl Crawford the biggest outfielder contract in baseball history, and possibly turned themselves into the best team in the league.

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Carl Crawford Contract With Red Sox Draws Broad Array Of Responses From Rivals

A bomb was dropped late Wednesday night when the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to a mammoth seven-year, $142 million contract. Crawford was previously thought to be headed to Anaheim, and the Red Sox were thought to be focused on cheaper outfield alternatives, but instead they picked up the best free agent position player on the market, turning their lineup into arguably the best in the league.

As noted by SB Nation Boston, Crawford's contract has provoked a variety of responses from other general managers in the AL East. Beginning with the Yankees, there are congratulatory, complimentary remarks:

“It’s a great move. They’ve got a great team. Significantly improved. They were a great team last year. They got derailed by injuries,” said Cashman. “They’ve had two huge acquisitions. They’re loading up like they always do. This is even more significant than a typical Red Sox reload. They’ve done a good job so far.”

Moving on to the Blue Jays, there are those same compliments, but there's also some degree of rationalization as Alex Anthopoulos urges everyone to calm down a little bit:

“Let’s see, they subtracted (Victor) Martinez and (Adrian) Beltre, and they added Gonzalez and Crawford,” reasoned Anthopolous. “The thing is, you have to look at the years that they had. Beltre had a great year. He hit .320, 30 home runs, and then, Martinez hit about 20 home runs. Hard to say (how much better the Sox are) because they both had very good years...Health alone, if they had just kept the same team, I felt that team kept intact was a 100-win team."

And finally we move to the Orioles, where Andy MacPhail sounds like a man defeated:

“We’re going to start a mid-Atlantic Division,” he joked. “Frankly in our view, Boston was a powerhouse and a force going into 2010 and suffered injuries that are almost inconceivable, and still had a pretty good year. Now, when they get Pedroia healthy and they get Youkilis healthy, they add Gonzalez and they add Crawford … ooof. Oooof.”

Never has it been more clear than it's been this week that Major League Baseball consists of the Yankees, the Red Sox, and then everybody else.

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Carl Crawford Gives Red Sox Potent, Lefty-Heavy Lineup

Late Wednesday evening, the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year contract worth $142 million. It is the largest contract for an outfielder in baseball history, and easily beats out the seven-year, $126 million contract signed by Jayson Werth on Sunday.

In signing Crawford, the Red Sox came out of nowhere to steal the top free agent position player away from the Angels and Yankees, They've also gone and given themselves one hell of a projected 2010 starting lineup. Based on their roster right now, they look to start the following nine:

C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Marco Scutaro
3B: Kevin Youkilis
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: J.D. Drew
DH: David Ortiz

That doesn't even mention backup outfielder Mike Cameron, and the fact that the Red Sox are currently pursuing other options at catcher, including free agent Miguel Olivo.

No matter how you arrange those players, it's set to be an excellent batting order from top to bottom. The only real concern is that Ellsbury, Ortiz, Crawford, Gonzalez, and Drew are all left-handed hitters, making the lineup vulnerable to certain starting pitchers and relievers, but that's a problem the Red Sox can probably deal with. Having the right-handed Cameron able to play all three outfield positions doesn't hurt.

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Carl Crawford Contract With Red Sox May Have Big Implications

Late Wednesday night, when much of the country had stopped paying attention for the evening, Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox. The seven-year, $142 million contract is the largest ever for an outfielder and the ninth-largest all-time overall, and it gives the Red Sox their second giant boost of the week after trading for Adrian Gonzalez on Sunday.

Crawford's contract, though, doesn't only mean something to Boston. It also means something to New York and Anaheim. The Yankees had met with Crawford and his agent during the Winter Meetings and likely considered the outfielder a fallback option in the event that they're unable to sign Cliff Lee. With Crawford now gone and Zack Greinke unlikely to accept a trade to New York, one wonders what Plan B might be now. This could spur the Yankees to make an even bigger Lee offer than they've already made.

Meanwhile, the Angels considered Crawford their top offseason priority, and earlier Wednesday front office executives were said to be highly confident that Crawford would sign. Now, they're left with lots of money but no player, and odds are good that they turn their attention to signing Adrian Beltre instead. The Angels could use a third baseman, and while Beltre isn't quite of Crawford's caliber, he is an excellent everyday player who should excel for many more years.

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Carl Crawford Signs Seven-Year Deal With Boston Red Sox, According To Source

The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham is reporting that the Boston Red Sox have closed a seven-year, $142M deal with free agent Carl Crawford. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is also reporting the deal.

If true, it's a shocking turn of developments in the Carl Crawford saga. As recently as Wednesday, the Red Sox were barely a contender while the Yankees and Angels were considered front-runners.

Red Sox blog Over The Monster is shocked by the stealthiness of the deal.

If this is true, then 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 Lackey 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.

While Carl Crawford has the "young player" type of skills that don't tend to decline as quickly, seven years is still a long contract, and at $20 million per year, the Sox are putting a heavy investment in a player whose best skill is limited by their home park. Sort of the opposite of the Adrian Gonzalez deal.

The deal would make Crawford the highest-paid outfielder of all-time and the contract is the ninth-biggest in MLB history. Crawford hit .307 with 19 HRs, 90 RBI, and 47 steals in 2010.

And so, the rich get richer. Keep an eye here and on SB Nation Boston for updates.

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