One of the best baseball writers in the business, Mark Topkin of the St. Pete Times, reports today that Carl Crawford and the Rays have decided to table negotiations until after the season.
Teams retain exclusive rights to their own free agents until two weeks after the final game of the World Series. So Crawford and the Rays have ample time to strike a deal.
But this development certainly pushes him a step closer to free agency.
Crawford turns 29 in August and is coming off a season that saw him register a career-best .364 OBP along with 51 extra-base hits and 60 stolen bases. He also drew 51 walks, the most of his career. He is an insanely good defender as well.
Some speculate the Yankees held the line with Johnny Damon with an eye on signing Crawford. The Red Sox may have done the same with Jason Bay, although that is less likely. The Red Sox are well-stocked with outfielders who will soon be ready for the majors and they have a somewhat similar player in Jacoby Ellsbury.
Regardless, Crawford will not lack for suitors should he hit the open market.
What’s your take? Would you want the Sox to chase Crawford?