Thursday, December 9, 2010

Something in the Water

There's gotta be something in the water at Lake Buena Vista that makes the Red Sox love to spend money. Carl Crawford? Really?

What's the most interesting part is that Crawford went for only $7 million more than Jayson Werth. Same number of years. Not eight years. I'm really surprised, and I don't think I'm the only one.

As I discussed a few weeks ago, Crawford's a good signing. It's a little bit of a concern because the speed might diminish, but good for this team. It's going to be good for a while now.


Anonymous said...

Boston Red Sox= Evil Empire north.

Taking the best player from teams that can't afford him. Throwing big money at Crawford.

Absolutely love it and like Crawford a lot. He is a real baseball player.

Can't wait to see the Sox/Yanks slug it out this year with the two lineups they will both have.


PF said...

Good signing by the sox. While gonzalez and crawford are both very good defenders and it could be said fall under this theory, run prevention went out the window pretty quick, didn't it? The sox are definitely prioritizing offense (a very good offense had become great) over pitching (where they struggled in 2010, both with a mediocre rotation and a worse bullpen). They are going to score a lot more runs to cover up that pitching if it doesn't improve, that's for sure.

What I'm really excited about here is, as a 170 mil payroll continues to grow (with this being the 9th biggest contract handed out in baseball history, and adgonz will not be extended for loose change) when will the sox and their fans give in that they aren't any different than the yankees. Of course other teams have grouped them together for a long time despite the pre-2010 payroll discrepancy because of other non-payroll financial might that exists. But as the sox make a payroll move that is now looking reminiscent of the early 2000s yankees in terms of trajecotry, when will this time come? I'm not saying it's now, I just want to know when it is. Within 20 mil? 10? 5? Will they still cry poverty and make public relations efforts to distance themselves from being grouped with the yankees if they are a single dollar below in payroll? Should be great to watch.

Yanks need to get cliff lee now.

the gm at work said...

Is the Crawford money (7/$142) REALLY that big, considering Werth (whom most consider an inferior player) got 7/$135? Obviously it's a big bid and money that's well out of the reach of most of the field, but it's not as big as what I thought the Angels were going to throw up.

As I said, I'm not sure how comfortable I am about the last few years of this deal, as there are a lot of miles on those legs and he may slow down, eliminating his best tool. It's very possible that this team sucks - a lot - right around 2015 or 2016. It's also likely that this team is not going to spend big until 2017's offseason, which is likely the next time the winter meetings are in Lake Buena Vista.

But you gotta admit that this team's gonna be really good this year and the next four. There's definitely no plan in those upstairs offices, as this was supposed to be Bridge Year 2. Turned out okay, though.

Pat, regarding Lee, a word used on the radio is "panic." Can you argue that?

And regarding poverty, "we were up over 20 percent for 2010. I didn't do that, mathematical formulas did that. It's through trend following."

Ross Kaplan said...

I really want to pan this move, but I just can't. I'm already having nightmares of running all over the Yankees 19 games a season for the next 7 years.

Anonymous said...


Every Sox fan should be feeling good right now. This is a lot like the Yankees winter of 2008, right down to the big money, the big names, and the lost season the year before.

Do we have to worry that Crawford and Gonzalez will get hurt and the money will look awful in three years? Sure do. But that's true of any big contract. These guys are the types of guys you pay big money to and Sox fans have no reason to complain about either move. In similar situations, every GM in baseball would have done the same thing in a heartbeat.

Also, and this point can't be made enough--the Sox did well with the Crawford deal, especially in light of what Werth got. Crawford is a much more dynamic player and a much better athlete. He's also two years younger, which isn't a small point.

I should also say this--we all have to tip our hat to Theo Epstein. I've been as critical as anyone about his history, but this winter he's showed us that he's as crafty and talented as they come.

I haven't been this excited about a Red Sox winter since Schilling and Foulke came to town in 2003/04.

--the Gunn

PF said...

dv -

Its fine to argue that the sox got a fine deal in relation to werth by "only" paying 16 million more (werth got 126 - and really, how much more did we expect crawford to get? Maybe 20-30. He's a better player, but he's not that much better). But you can't argue its not really that much money. Its 20 per year for 7 years. About 5 players make more money in all of baseball, and crawford isn't in the class of players that should have one of the 10 biggest contracts. He's really, really, really good, but its not like if we started from scratch, hed be taken in the top 10 hitters, and would be a borderline top 20 picj because you can't build an offense around him. Its not like he's been lighting up a career stat sheet with mvp finishes and consistent all star selections. Of course this is moot, because the sox aren't paying him to do an of those things, they are asking him to play around gonz/youk which is what makes this deal so great from a production standpoint. But giving this kind of money for that kind of player/role makes the contract play even bigger. Its not like you're picking up joe mauer yet you're paying that kind of money.

Panic? Do you mean that in reference to the yankees feelings about the state of the sox? Let's be real. The yankees need to sign lee to ensure they stay out in front of the sox. Panic is something you do when you're scared, like you've fallen behind. All these moves have done is shift the balance from the rays to the sox. The yankees have been so far unaffected, because they dealt with a team as good as the 2011 sox last year with the rays. Its not like the sox have gained an edge in the east here, they've caught up with the yankees, and not only have the rays lost but their loss was a division rivals gain, so double whammy. You look up and down the rosters and there's only 3 places the sox have a better player: lf, set up, and #5 starter. Everything else is wash or edge yanks. The sox were bottom half in rotation era last year and bottom 10 in bullpen era. Yankees were top 10 in both. Yanks also scored more runs than anybody in baseball. This is a really exciting two moves for the sox, but that effects the rays more than the yanks. Ascribing the word panic to them is getting a little TOO excited.

PF said...

Gunn -

These are two really sound moves for the sox. But they threw the 2nd biggest outfielder contract all time at a player who is really good but not someone who is in that category. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but throwing that kind of money at that kind of player is just doing what it takes to get a guy. They also traded 3 of their 5 bes prospects to get a dominant player, in a move that has been obvious for the sox for at least 12 months. This isn't crafty. This is a team saying do what it takes to win and a GM with more financial power than all but one team going out and getting that done. Like you said, this is like the yankees in 2008. The yankees made moves to improve the team bigtime. But that wasn't cashman being crafty. Crafty is getting nick swiisher for very little or trading nomar for minky and cabrera. 2008 and now is just two teams doing what most teams can't to improve their team, making in both instances what I would call obvious moves that they needed to make by flexing their financial muscles. This isn't to say these two GMs aren't really good/crafty/two of the best out there, these just aren't examples as to why.

TimC said...

Let's keep in mind here that although the Sox did pay a historically large contract to Crawford, it is not as if they selected him over better players. They signed him to this deal because he was available and if a higher caliber player was available I am sure they would have signed him. It may be stating the obvious but it seems like some are getting wrapped up in the fact that Crawford is not a top-9 player in baseball history. Of course he isn't! But this is free agency and he is getting what he is worth; it points to the larger issue of baseball players in general being underpaid until they hit their later years. You can see why some leagues are heading towards work stoppages...

Back to the main point, though. The Sox did well, not just by adding quality to their team, but by avoiding the errors of FA and trades past. As we all can so plainly see, the difference in elite and very good is small (Crawford v Werth) but in the past the Sox have opted for 'very good' just a little too much. Comparing this 'elite' signing with the 'very good' JD Drew signing or the 'elite' Gonzo trade with the 'very good' pickup of Beckett shows that the price increase is not much but the return is significantly higher, both in terms of less risk of fall-off and more production in the short term.

As for the planning, DV...sometimes you build a Sagamore, sometimes you build the Golden Gate. Let's all look forward to overpaying for tickets in 2018.

Patrick said...

absolutely timc. the fact that he's not the 9th best player ever and has the 9th biggest contract entirely misses the point. as it does with applying the same analysis to any big contract ever signed. but while some people may be getting to wrapped up in that, on the other side of the spectrum some people are getting too wrapped up in the idea that the sox are getting some kind of steal here since the nationals overpaid for werth. first, 20 million over 7 years is 20 million over 7 years. that is never a steal. second, the nationals blowing away the field to the point that boras didn't accept any more offers, while relevant to crawford, isn't the entire analysis. free agency doesn't go player x gets this, so player y who is slightly better than player x gets a little bit more. what was the second highest offer for crawford? what are comparable players getting paid through free agency the few years before and the few after? finally, carl crawford is a really good player. but he isn't albert pujols or hanley ramirez. he's registered even a single mvp vote in two of his nine years playing. you pay $20 million to get that kind of guy because that's what it takes to improve your team, and that's exactly what the sox did with this move - improve their team a lot. but you don't start talking about how it isn't that much money or is a steal (and i'm not talking about our discussion here so much as things i here others saying elsewhere). this is a sound deal for the red sox because they got the player. nothing else really matters.

TimC said...

Very true, PF. I think we are all just pleased that Theo did not get pig-roasted with his wheeling and dealing this year- maybe with the ownership visiting the Beatles museum he was free to do more of his own thinking.

Patrick said...

interesting note that crawford is first player to never hit 20 home runs in a single season to get over $100 mil deal (ichiro held this title previously at $90). shows there is a shift in focus taking place on what is valued in the game.