The Red Sox are officially the winners of the 2010 Winter Meetings. Boston signed a seven-year, $142MM deal with Carl Crawford, just days after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez. The deal, which is official now that Crawford has passed his physical, includes a partial no-trade clause.
Not only will the move give Boston a tremendous everyday lineup, it will put pressure on a number of the team's rivals. The Rays will face their former outfielder 18 times per season; the Angels lose out on their top offseason target and the Yankees are left with no major free agent to pursue if Cliff Lee ignores their overtures. According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, the Yankees never made a formal offer to Crawford, while the Angels may have topped out at $108MM.
Crawford will become the first position player without a 20 homer season on his resume to sign a nine-figure contract. His representatives at Legacy Sports negotiated a deal that falls just short of the eight-year, $160MM Dan Duquette signed Manny Ramirez to a decade ago. However, it surpasses the seven-year, $126MM deal Jayson Werth signed this week.
The Red Sox add another outfielder to the roster and another left-handed bat to the lineup. It's likely that Terry Francona will play Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew in the outfield with Mike Cameron and Ryan Kalish as backups. Drew, Kalish, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz all bat left-handed.
Crawford, 29, batted .307/.356/.495 with 19 homers and 47 stolen bases in 657 plate appearances for the Rays last year. He made his fourth All-Star team and managers and coaches recognized his above-average defense with a Gold Glove.
It's not much compensation for losing a franchise player, but the Rays will get two draft picks next June for losing a Type A free agent after offering arbitration. They pick up a supplementary first rounder plus Boston's 24th overall pick. The Red Sox already obtained the 19th overall pick when the Tigers signed Victor Martinez.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe broke the news (on Twitter) and Jon Heyman of SI.com added detail on the partial no-trade clause (Twitter link). Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link) has the yearly numbers: Crawford receives a $6MM signing bonus, $14MM in 2011, $19.5MM in 2012, $20MM in 2013, and then his pay increases by $250K each season before topping out at $21MM in 2017.