Over a span of roughly 80 hours, the Red Sox invested just under $300 million in a team that today looks like the best in baseball.
Carl Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million deal is the seventh-highest among active players and the 10th largest in history. That will slip down a spot once the Red Sox make official the seven-year, $154 million extension they have in their pocket for Adrian Gonzalez.
How’s this for a lineup?
The bench shapes up to be Cameron, Lowrie, Varitek and either Darnell McDonald or another infielder.
The Sox are a bit too left-handed. But if you’re going to tilt one way, better to tilt that way with superstars like Crawford and Gonzalez. Plus Cameron can sub for Drew and Ortiz and get plenty of at-bats.
If the Sox were looking for the kind of team that will boost the NESN ratings, they have it. Crawford may be the most exciting player in baseball, a guy who has incredible speed, a Gold Glove in left and last season had 62 extra-base hits. Then you have Gonzalez, a hitter with power to all fields who might hit 40 home runs next season with how well he drives the ball the other way.
Crawford is perhaps the best example of how baseball teams need to built in the post-steroid era, with versatility, athleticism, speed and defense. He has never hit 20 home runs in a single season but the Red Sox obviously feel he was the player who could put them over the top.
Now the Yankees must counter this move. Cliff Lee is a happy man tonight, knowing there is no acceptable fallback position for the Yankees or Rangers. They must have him now and the bidding could skyrocket. This too benefits the Red Sox given the risks to signing a pitcher to a long-term deal.
It certainly sets up a fun summer in the AL East.
We’ll have more to come on Thursday, the final day of the Winter Meetings. Stay with Extra Bases for your Sox news.