After watching day three unfold at a snail's pace, the Red Sox delivered a minor shocker last night by announcing the signing of Carl Crawford for seven years at $142M.
The timing and years of this deal are surprising. Many figured that Crawford wouldn't sign or be approached with a deal to his liking until after the meetings and with Jayson Werth signing a few days earlier for the same number years most figured Crawford would be a lock for eight to possibly ten years!
With the Yankees locked in on acquiring Cliff Lee it seems as though Boston only had to compete with the Los Angeles Angels for Crawford's services and with the playing narrowed quite substantially, it makes sense that the Sox could acquire a player of this age and caliber and still ward off any further risk that could occur if this contract was extended to 2018 and beyond.
The Crawford signing was good news to the Lee camp since it made the Yankees blink as they've upped their offer to seven years for Cliff Lee. It's probable that this deal could look like an anchor in a few seasons but on the bright side for us Yankee fans: signing Lee should allow us to keep Jesus Montero since our necessity to trade for a top-end starter seems to have gone down a bit.
The status of Andy Pettite is still unknown and with the Sox adding another potent left-handed hitter to their mix makes the Yanks need Lee all the more. Before the Crawford deal, the Yankees were standing firm on six years for Cliff Lee despite mentions of a "mystery" team contacted Lee's agent with a seven year offer. During yesterday's proceedings, it was reported that GM Brian Cashman received a phone call from Pettite but no decision has been made about his return. Even with Lee in the fold, Pettite would find room in the Yanks 2011 rotation but with a lot of money tied up to pitchers past '11 (assuming Lee signs), the Yankees will have to make some big decisions with what to do with their three pitching prospects (Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Andrew Brackman) since the the team is hoping that all three will be MLB ready by 2012.
Yesterday, some minor moves were made as the Mariners signed Jack Cust for one season. The Royals grabbed Jeff Francoeur for a single season with a mutual option; both players figure to share platoon time with their respective teammates.
The Padres picked up a SS by trading for Jason Bartlett and sending over a few interesting relievers back to Tampa Bay in the process. One of those relievers, Cesar Ramos did struggle a bit with command last season but he is effective in inducing groundballs and could be an upgrade over LOOGY incumbent Randy Choate.
Later today, teams will partake in the annual Rule 5 draft; expect the occasional speedy outfielder along with the handful of left-handed bullpen arms to be coveted. It will, however, be interesting to see if last season's analyst favorite, Aneury Rodriguez from the Rays, gets picked up.