Great story over at Comcast New England today going behind the scenes of the Carl Crawford signing and explaining how Theo got his man. Among the highlights:
- While meeting with Crawford and his agents, the Red Sox cited J.D. Drew as a player with an aversion to the spotlight who could nonetheless “thrive in Boston.” Take that J.D. Drew haters;
- Before the offers were on the table, Crawford, when asked, said that if the offers were equal, he’d pick Boston, which surprised everyone;
- The Red Sox’ meetings with Jayson Werth were designed to be “misdirection to some other teams.” Or at least that’s what they told Crawford;
- Contrary to reports that the Angels’ best offer was $108 million, that was merely an introductory lowball (the Red Sox had a lowball offer too, of $117 million). Just before Crawford agreed to go to Boston, the Angels matched the $142 million, based on Crawford’s agents saying that’s what would get the deal done. When he went to Boston, Angels GM Tony Reagins is livid at Crawford’s agents, thinking that he was told that Crawford would go to Anaheim if they made that offer. Crawford’s agents nope. That was the money, but there was never any guarantee.
- Theo yelled “awesome!” from his hotel suite when Crawford accepted the offer. The only thing missing is how it went from “awesome!” to Pete Abraham’s Twitter account so quickly (I think it was there within minutes based on the story). Probably worth listening extra carefully to PeteAbe on future reports from the Red Sox front office.
Highly recommended reading while we wait for Cliff Lee reports.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.