Carl Crawford apparently had a very emotional offseason.
Earlier this week Crawford said that he was “creeped out” by the Red Sox admitting that they followed him both on and off the field last year in preparation for potentially signing him as a free agent and yesterday he told Jon Heyman of SI.com that he felt the Angels’ method of pursuing him as a free agent “was weird.”
Crawford was linked to the Angels more than any other suitor at the beginning of the offseason, but the team’s reported six-year, $108 million offer (with a seventh-year option) was $34 million less than he ended up getting from the Red Sox and $18 million less than fellow free agent outfielder Jayson Werth got from the Nationals.
Here’s more from Crawford:
They obviously didn’t want me that bad because I’m a Red Sox. I don’t know what happened. It was weird. I heard they said my contract was too much. Then they paid more [per year] to Vernon Wells. I didn’t understand that. [Werth] is 31 and I’m 29. It didn’t make sense to me, either. And this is why I’m a Red Sox.
All of which is interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Angels screwed up by not out-bidding the Red Sox for Crawford. The notion that he’s not worth a seven-year, $142 million commitment is hardly outlandish, so while the Angels’ method of pursuing Crawford may have seemed odd and their final offer wasn’t particularly competitive with the contract he ended up signing that doesn’t mean they made a mistake (later deciding to take on Vernon Wells’ contract was a pretty clear mistake, but that’s a mostly separate decision).
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.