By the year 2017, based on his current contract, Carl Demonte (not to be confused with the canned vegetable giant Del Monte) Crawford will have been on the MLB books for having made $31,365,000.
A whopping $142M of this is coming out from behind the bricks you people keep buying to be immortalized at Fenway.
Nine seasons into his career and about two-thirds of the way through his Freshman season at Fenway, Crawford’s numbers have been questioned since Spring Training by every writer. As recently as today when BBWAA member and Boston’s “Villian of the Presses”, Dan Shaughnessy, wrote an article asking “Can we think of another Boston athlete who has enjoyed a longer free pass than the $142 million outfielder?”
My answer is no, and I couldn’t agree with that result more.
Everyone points to Crawford’s 38 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 16 walks, and 74 strikeouts through 95 games.
Crawford’s career stats in those categories are 63 RBI (never a season above 90), 42 steals (60 in 2009), 31 walks, and 84 strikeouts.
Crawford is 29 years old this year, in his 10th season in the Major Leagues since his 63 games played in 2002. After stealing 409 bases over 9 years in Tampa Bay and this many years in the League, anyone’s legs would be running ragged.
So, who is at fault for Crawford’s down year?
Sure, the answer is Crawford.
But to allude to Shaughnessy’s question as to whether or not Crawford has gotten a free pass for making $142M over seven years without yet accomplishing much of anything in a Sox uniform, I think the fault is not on Crawford.
The Red Sox main concern with signing Carl Crawford was very clearly not to put Crawford in a Red Sox uniform, but to keep him from donning pin stripes. In fact, the only option the Red Sox took out on Crawford in signing him was a giant stipulation that Boston could block any deal to one particular club, the New York Yankees.
Meetings between Crawford’s Tampa Bay Rays and the Sox were always a painful thing for the Sox fan to watch. Those were literally the last mlb tickets on your radar.
Everyone Boston fan (and all three Tampa Bay fans, cowbells in hand) remember May 3, 2009 when Crawford tied a modern day era record when he stole a whopping SIX bases in one game against Jason Varitek and the Sox. He also went 4-for-4 in that game.
It was games like this that made the Red Sox more aware than ever that, as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. The rest is history.
Is $142M a lot of money? Obviously.
Is Carl Crawford the best player in the Major Leagues? Not really.
Is Carl Crawford a Red Sox killer? Abso-freakin-lutely.
Is he worth paying $20M a season to? If it keeps him out of the hands of someone else who would give him similar money and you can afford to do it because you own a soccer team, a race team, and God knows what else, GIT-R-DONE!