Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have reached agreement on a seven-year, $142 million contract with outfielder Carl Crawford, making him the richest outfielder in Major League Baseball history.
The Angels were called the front-runners for Crawford all day long at the Winter Meetings and reports just hours ago had them moving aggressively toward the finalization of a contract.
All that talk must have woken up the Boston front office, because they barged in with a massive deal and secured a signature this evening.
It’s a bold but brilliant move by a club that missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 2006. Lest we forget, they added Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres just a few days ago. Gonzalez is a solid defender at first base and Crawford covers all sorts of ground in the outfield.
The defense is good. The offense is even better.
Crawford hit .307 with 19 homers, 90 RBI and 110 runs scored in 2010 for the Rays. He was worth 6.9 WAR (Wins Against Replacement), more than Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera. Gonzalez slugged 31 home runs this year while playing half of his games in baseball’s biggest park. He’s going to punish Fenway Park’s Green Monster with doubles and a whole lot of homers.
Seriously, check out this spray chart of Gonzalez’s hits from this season. Those are all of the spots that the first baseman sent baseballs in 2010 at PETCO Park, overlapped as to where they’d land if he were batting in Fenway.
To improve so vastly on both offense and defense in one winter is remarkable and possibly unprecedented.
The Red Sox are alive and well. The American League East is out of control.
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.