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.