- Dan Szymborski, ESPN Insider
Just days after picking up the best player available on the trade market in Adrian Gonzalez, the Boston Red Sox followed up and inked Carl Crawford, the best position player on the free-agent market, to an eye-popping seven-year, $142 million contract.
A lot of the buzz around the contract has focused on how this is by far the richest contract for a hitter who hasn't passed the 20-homer mark in any season. Although it's difficult to be one of the best corner outfielders in the league without power, Crawford makes up for it by having one of the most well-rounded skill sets in baseball. Mix in a .300 batting average, high-percentage base stealing, Gold Glove defense (Crawford, by all rights, should have a closet full of them by now) and enough triples to make him the active career leader, and you have an extremely valuable offensive player who can get away with hitting only 15 homers a year.
Fenway Park should be a nice home for Crawford during the next seven years; it's very good for batting average. Although there's risk of a leg injury hurting his game (see Jose Offerman), Crawford just celebrated his 29th birthday, so the Red Sox won't have to worry about him performing in his late 30s like the Nats with Jayson Werth or the Yankees with Alex Rodriguez.
Dan Szymborski projects Carl Crawford as a Red Sox. The results look really strong, but there's one problem: Boston's lineup will murder right-handed pitchers, but against lefties (i.e., Cliff Lee), it could struggle.