Crawford Open To Long-Term Deal With Rays

7:02pm: As Topkin notes, the Rays sound interested.  

We are very pleased to hear C.C.’s comments,'' executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the St. Petersburg Times just moments ago.  "Consistent with our policy, we do not speak publicly about contract negotiations but obviously we have a tremendous amount of respect for Carl both on and off the field.  He has been a big part of our past success and I expect he will be a big part of our future success as well.”

6:47pm: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Crawford is wary of playing next season without a clear future.  He either wants to sign an extension this winter or play out the 2010 season with the Rays and then head to free agency.

"I don't like worrying about it," Crawford said Tuesday, "and you can sit there and say you're not worried about it, but to not know what your future's going to be in the next five or six years or so is definitely … it makes you scared at times. I just hope we can do something. It's uncomfortable worrying about it. I don't like playing cautious."

"You'd be a liar if you say you didn't play cautious when you have to go through contracts and stuff like that. I want to just be able to play baseball, don't worry about nothing else."

4:21pm: Carl Crawford would be open to a long-term extension with the Rays, according to Marc Lancaster of the Tampa Tribune.  The first order of business will be the Rays picking up Crawford's $10MM option for next year, which seems like a given.  That four-year contract was signed in April of 2005.  Now that the Rays are a winning ballclub, Crawford appears willing to forgo his shot at free agency.

Crawford, 28, is hitting .307/.367/.450 in 659 plate appearances this year.  He's good for 50+ steals a year, and his speed is a big part of his highly-regarded left field defense.

Back on September 3rd, ESPN's Jayson Stark said the Rays "clearly would like to use the money they saved [from trading Scott Kazmir] to help them hang onto Carlos Pena and/or Crawford, both of whom will be a year away from free agency after this season."  The question is, what kind of contract would it take to lock up Crawford?  Would $15MM a year be appropriate?  Will Crawford aim for the maximum term, or would he prefer a two or three-year extension that allows him to test free agency before his skills decline?

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