Carl Crawford Enters Contract Year

Rays executive Andrew Friedman will probably address Carl Crawford's contract situation next week, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The 28-year-old outfielder is slated to earn $10MM in 2010 before he reaches free agency.  Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said on Friday, "We're going to do everything we can to make sure he stays here longer."

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times spoke to Crawford, who would prefer not to negotiate during the season.  Crawford hopes to stay with the Rays, but also noted that "you go [to free agency] to be paid like the guys playing against you."

In a January article, ESPN's Buster Olney noted that Crawford "may turn out to be one of the big beneficiaries" of teams' increasing emphasis on defense.  Disciples of UZR might suggest Crawford is worth north of $15MM a year, potentially more than a quarter of the Rays' projected 2011 payroll.

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