The ball has finally dropped in Orlando.
The Red Sox have signed outfielder Carl Crawford right under the Angels' noses to a seven year deal worth 142 million dollars. The Red Sox over payed for Crawford, who is a tremendous talent, and are even stronger because of it not even a week after landing Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres.
Crawford hit .307 with 19 home runs last season and stole 47 bases on his way to one of the best seasons of his career. He is only 29 years old, and the move to fresh grass and an outdoor stadium will likely do wonders for his legs and overall happiness.
The Red Sox could have an outfield that features Crawford in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and J.D. Drew in right. But with Crawford in the fold Ellsbury becomes a huge bargaining chip and could be used to land a bigger piece, say Royals ace Zach Greinke.
If the Red Sox traded Ellsbury and pitcher Michael Bowden, along with a minor league prospect, it would give the Royals a perennial star outfielder as well as a promising prospect on the cusp of becoming a big league pitcher. The third and potentially fourth prospect would also have to be on the radar in order to land Greinke. The Red Sox could play promising prospect Ryan Kalish in the outfield and platoon him with Mike Cameron if necessary. Kalish combined to hit .294 with 13 home runs in 293 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, and then hit .252 with 4 home runs in 53 games with the Red Sox. By the way, he's just 22.
The Yankees are waiting in holding pattern for Cliff Lee but with his agent continuing to stall, Crawford took the advantage and signed a mega-deal, trumping Jayson Werth and setting the stage for an even bigger Cliff Lee deal.
The Crawford signing makes it even more imperative for the Yankees to sign Cliff Lee. If they don't, it would be clear the Red Sox have taken the advantage on the aging Yankees who failed to land one of the two biggest pieces this offseason.
Lee's agent should use the Crawford signing as the precursor to finally come to the table and reach an agreement. It's hard to say who is going to win the length of the contract battle, the teams or Lee, but it appears based on his agents actions that Lee will go to the highest bidder. It's time for the Rangers, Yankees, or Angels to make a move.
Yeah, watch out for the Angels.