Monday, December 6, 2010

Adrian Gonzalez May Mean No Carl Crawford for Boston

Adrian Gonzalez coming to the Red Sox means the Yankees will now need to pitch around another deadly hitter -- this one, a lefty who can easily pull one out in both New York and Boston.

But the trade by Boston, though swift by offseason standards, may have come just a tad too late and with a few too many uncertainties attached for the Red Sox if they still hope to sign Carl Crawford.

Let me explain the domino effect here...

Domino 1: Nationals sign Jayson Werth.
Werth, rumored to be on the radar of Boston GM Theo Epstein, landed a whale of a deal with Washington (seven years/$126 million), thus jacking the price for Crawford, who was likely valued higher on the Red Sox offseason wish list. (He's younger, better defensively, and most importantly, would be moving away from the Sox' divisional rival in Tampa.)

It's easy to recognize that super agent Scott Boras is going to use the Werth deal as a benchmark to exceed when pitching his client Crawford around the league.

Domino 2: Red Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez without extending him.
The initial thinking by the media was that the Sox would only trade for Gonzo if they knew they could sign him, as hinted at here. However, in a move that fans seem to love (perhaps without recognizing any longer term domino effect), Boston wound up with the big first baseman in the end, without signing him to an extension.

This means that the Sox have A-Gon for 2011 for $6.2 million -- a bargain deal that will be more than tripled by the time he signs his next contract.

The Sox are hoping beyond hope that he will sign sometime between now and the end of next season, but negotiations are ongoing. (A-Gon wants a Teixeira-like deal in the neighborhood of eight years/$180 million; Boston is countering with seven/$154 million). It's dangerous for the Sox to give up some top prospects without a deal in place, but they allegedly have the framework for the extension ready to sign, and Gonzalez apparently really wanted to be in Boston.

Bottom line: the Red Sox have given up talent for Gonzalez in '11, so the extension must now be a top priority for the organization.

Domino 3: Yet to fall. My guess? Cliff Lee.
Should the Yankees (or Rangers) sign Lee -- who is also being pursued by the Red Sox -- it would ideally turn Boston's full attention on Crawford if you're a Sox fan. However, with Gonzalez already having cost the Sox some resources in the trade, it wouldn't make sense for them to abandon that plan or even focus a large deal on Crawford before Gonzo. They've completed a trade and must now commit serious money to that player first.

In the end, the Sox may lose on both Lee and Crawford for someone who may just be a replacement to the 2010 Beltre and an upgrade from the usual Beltre (ignoring any questions on Kevin Youkilis-to-third). The solution might be that the Sox heap more money onto the team's salary if they can, or they could opt to use Mike Cameron and/or JD Drew (both expiring) as trade bait. 

Either way, the next major domino to fall this offseason might be Crawford, but chances look slim that it would land by Landsdowne Street.

And now, the rundown!

  • Despite the influx of power bats to the AL East, the Yanks have remained quiet thus far.
  • NESN asks if Patriots-Jets has passed Sox-Yanks as the best Boston-NY rivalry. The world responds: um, no?
  • howiGit offers the Boston take on the new Adrian in Boston.
  • Is Russell Martin the next player for which both the Yanks and Sox compete?

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