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Red Sox agree to terms with Crawford

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 8, 2010 11:32 PM

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A Major League source has told the Globe the deal is for seven years and $142 million.

More to come.

UPDATE, 12:28 a.m. The deal came to fruition late tonight according to a Major Source with direct knowledge of the negotiations. The deal will be complete upon Crawford taking a physical, which could come as soon as Thursday.

The deal makes Crawford the second highest-paid outfielder in baseball history to Manny Ramirez, who received an eight-year, $160 million deal from the Red Sox in 2000,. Crawford's contract language includes partial no-trade protection.

The Angels had been in pursuit of Crawford, the top position player on the free-agent marke but offered only $108 million over seven years. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had dinner with Crawford and agent Brian Peters on Tuesday night but is not believed to have made an offer. The Texas Rangers also were involved.

The Red Sox acted quickly and decisively and less than a week after trading for Adrian Gonzalez, have added a second premier player. Crawford hit .307 with 19 home runs, 90 RBIs and 47 stolen bases for the Tampa Bay Rays. The 29-year-old is a four-time All-Star and this year won his first Gold Glove.

Crawford’s market was set on Sunday with right fielder Jayson Werth agreed to a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals. The Red Sox topped that contract by an average of $2.3 million a year.

With Gonzalez reportedly having agreed on the parameters of a seven-year, $154 million extension to his contract, the Red Sox have invested $296 million in a span of four days. The additions of Gonzalez and Crawford, two stars in their prime, should set the team up as contenders for years moving forward.

Crawford is under contract through 2017 while Gonzalez would be with the Red Sox 2018 once he signs the extension.

The Red Sox see the speedy Crawford as having the ability to hit third, adding depth to a lineup already bolstered by Gonzalez, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres for three prospects on Sunday.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona called Crawford “a game changer” last month.

“He’s that guy that can change a game defensively, offensively. When he gets on base, he gives you a headache,” Francona said.

Crawford is generally considered the best defensive left fielder in the game and his ability to cover ground within the small spaces of Fenway Park was something the Red Sox prized as well.

Crawford is Tampa Bay’s career leader in batting average (.296), doubles (211), triples (105), stolen bases (409), and runs scored (765).

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