FanDuel - WFBC

December 09, 2010

Red Sox To Sign Crawford: Boston to ink Carl Crawford for deal worth reported $142 million. With Adrian Gonzalez to get a extension in the reported $154 million range, it's a Christmas spending spree for the Red Sox.

posted by dyams to baseball at 07:04 AM - 22 comments

I wish he had gone to the Angels. I'm not going to enjoy rooting against him since he has been the face of the Rays franchise for many years and served the organization and fans well.

He is a relative bargain compared to Werth. The Red Sox have certainly embarked on a spending spree.

posted by bperk at 07:33 AM on December 09

Obviously the Sox have purchased a fantastic offense and, if the pitching rebounds, a great staff, too. Having speed like Ellsbury, Pedroia, and now Crawford? To go along with Youk and Gonzalez, two of the best hitters in the game? The need Beckett, Dice-K, and Lackey to have solid seasons, and avoid all the injuries of a year ago, and it becomes a matter of how far they can go in the playoffs.

posted by dyams at 08:46 AM on December 09

Need some bullpen help too.

posted by yerfatma at 09:00 AM on December 09

I ran the numbers. That's about $338,000 per stolen base, assuming he's still stealing 60 per season when he's 37. Because otherwise you wouldn't pay $142m for a career league-average OBP and fewer than 20 home runs a season.

He had a great 2010, and he's probably got a couple more good ones in him, but this could be a long seven years.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:33 AM on December 09

DJE -- I think Crawford brings a lot more to the table than stolen bases, and the Red Sox are too smart to pay that kind of money because of some overvaluing of stolen bases. His defense is outstanding, he has some pop for a speed guy, has been largely injury free (save one year) and I assume the Red Sox are gambling that he will age well. Fangraph's WAR puts him at 9th highest in MLB as a whole last year (which suggests there is a fair bit of value in his stats as a whole, even if nothing other than the SBs jumps out), so there is certainly a case that he could/should be paid like one of the top 10 players in baseball.

posted by holden at 09:45 AM on December 09

I could see the Yankees making huge plays for both Lee and Greinke now.

posted by dyams at 10:14 AM on December 09

and it becomes a matter of how far they can go in the playoffs.

Chickens, hatched, all that jazz...

His defense is outstanding,

He's going to be playing LF, correct?
Isn't that the smallest outfield area to cover in all of baseball, with the Green Monster taking away most deep fly balls?
I'm not sure that's really maximizing his value.

Fangraph's WAR puts him at 9th highest in MLB as a whole last year

I believe that Fangraph's WAR evaluation includes his fielding, and there have been complaints that the fielding evaluations for Fangraph's WAR calculations are a bit...wonky. Nevertheless, the position he's playing seems to negate any real fielding advantage, unless he's got Spider-Man skills...

posted by grum@work at 10:34 AM on December 09

holden, there's no arguing that Carl Crawford killed it last year—absolutely killed it—although it looks like his defence took a bit of a step back. And he's been Very Good™ for a number of years, if not 142m-good.

I think he can keep up this pace for another couple years, but I look at his offensive numbers and read speed into many of them: SB obviously, but also the doubles and triples which make up a lot of his SLG, and of course his defence. So it wouldn't surprise me if there was a significant dropoff in his future. It's like you said: the Sox are taking a gamble that he ages well.

I guess my basic argument here is "free agents are overpaid".

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:46 AM on December 09

I guess my basic argument here is "free agents are overpaid".

If we can amend that statement to include "and all athletes," then I absolutely agree.

posted by dyams at 11:14 AM on December 09

I guess my basic argument here is "free agents are overpaid"

Crawford is in the top 10 players at his position, but 7 years and $142 Million?

Cliff Lee will get a sweeter contract and it would be hard to name him in the top 10 starting pitchers. Sure he's been a Yankee killer, but I'd be surprised if he has more than 3 good years left in him.

Just imagine the money Albert Pujols could command.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:18 AM on December 09

If we can amend that statement to include "and all athletes," then I absolutely agree.

Well, I have a hard time criticizing CFL players who make less than $100,000/yr, or anyone that plays in the minor leagues for any of the big 4 North American sports. They are definitely not "overpaid".

posted by grum@work at 11:21 AM on December 09

Isn't that the smallest outfield area to cover in all of baseball, with the Green Monster taking away most deep fly balls? I'm not sure that's really maximizing his value.

Well, it might not be "maximizing" his value but there is more to being an excellent left fielder than just how well you can run and catch. There is also the ability to throw from left field (Johnny Damon being a perfect example of how teams used to exploit the Sox because he couldn't throw). Left field helps those big hitters at Fenway park maintain a little more energy and be productive at the plate (not to mention less chance of injury).

It's not really "worth" anything, but it's enjoyable to list the former players who played left field at Fenway park: Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski . . .

posted by jeremias at 12:25 PM on December 09

Whaddya got against Duffy Lewis? Or Mike Greenwell or Manny Ramirez?

posted by yerfatma at 12:29 PM on December 09

Using other metrics, he was 10th among position players in Baseball Propsectus' WARP3 (which also accounts for defense, and the defensive side of which is similarly challenged by folks smarter than me), was 20th among position players under BP's VORP (also a stat under some measure of challenge, but which does not account for defense), was 13th in Fangraphs' Win Probability Added, etc.

The point is, even taking defense out of the equation, he is one of the top 10-20 position players in baseball and likely at the back end of the top ten when you factor in defense. Yes, his defensive advantage will be muted in half of his games unless the Red Sox shift him to RF after J.D. Drew's contract expires. But I believe the Red Sox may well get value for their money in this deal.

posted by holden at 12:51 PM on December 09

Worth noting that the Red Sox play 81 games at Fenway Park, not 162.

My feeling is that Crawford was signed for his all-around skills, his competitiveness and the visceral appeal of his game. The team, while scrappy, was deadly dull last year and the owners knew they needed to rejuvenate the roster. As a Sox fan, I am more excited about the Gonzalez acquisition, but adding Crawford to the lineup -- and taking him away from the Rays, and keeping him away from AL rivals -- is a huge bonus. Is it April yet?

(Rcade...did you check the date on that article?)

posted by Venicemenace at 01:03 PM on December 09

Rcade...did you check the date on that article?

ESPN LA's Mark Saxon filed it around the same time Crawford was finalizing terms with the Red Sox. His sources were so wrong I thought it was worth noting.

posted by rcade at 01:07 PM on December 09

For all the flexibility a large budget provides, it helps to be smart about it too. The next two years of Gonzalez and Crawford will not increase the Sox payroll as they're balanced by players coming off of contracts. Of course, it's a lot of players, but it's interesting to see how they set this up.

posted by yerfatma at 01:34 PM on December 09

Isn't that the smallest outfield area to cover in all of baseball, with the Green Monster taking away most deep fly balls? I'm not sure that's really maximizing his value.

Venicemenace has it correctly, the Red Sox do play half of their games on the road. Even in Fenway, speed could be a big advantage in left field. A fast left fielder can play shallow to keep runners from going from 1st to 3rd or from 2nd to score on singles. Crawford's speed would allow him to do this and still get back to the wall for the deep fly or line drive. Left center in Fenway is quite a bit larger than straight-away left. A fast left fielder can give the center fielder the ability to shade toward right, thus better covering what is one of the larger right fields in the majors.

Whaddya got against Duffy Lewis? Or Mike Greenwell or Manny Ramirez?

...or Carroll Hardy?

posted by Howard_T at 02:00 PM on December 09

It's a great signing and a brilliant move. They screw the Rays and the Angels in one fell swoop and they force the Yankees to pour money down Cliff Lee's throat like beer for a freshman girl at a TKE house party.

posted by gradioc at 10:34 PM on December 09

Relevant followup: Does speed age well?

Quick answer: actually yeah, it generally does.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:08 PM on December 10

Considering Ellsbury and Cameron are coming off injury plagued seasons, and Drew is getting older and probably not long for the Red Sox, Crawford is a smart move. I hate going 7 years, but that's the going rate.

posted by justgary at 10:53 PM on December 11

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