Yankees rejoice: Rays, Crawford end extension talks

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With no agreement in sight, the Rays and Carl Crawford have chosen to halt extension talks until the end of the season, agent Brian Peters told the St. Petersburg Times.
“We had an opportunity to exchange ideas with the club about a contract extension for Carl and it was clear to all of us that an immediate agreement was not going to materialize,” Peters said. “Thus, we all agreed to table discussions until the end of the year.”
Crawford is entering the second and final option year of a deal that’s paid him $33.5 million over six seasons, and barring an agreement prior to the end of the World Series, he’ll become a free agent for the first time at age 29. The speedster has long been viewed as a perfect fit for the Yankees, and it’s been speculated that one of the reasons the Bombers declined to give Johnny Damon a two-year deal this winter was that they had their eyes on Crawford.
That an extension couldn’t be worked out probably won’t put Crawford on the market immediately. The Rays hope to contend this year, and they might have a slight chance of keeping Crawford if they can make it to the postseason for the second time in three years. However, it they fall out of contention early, Crawford’s name will certainly come up at the trade deadline. Since the Rays don’t expect their payroll to expand in 2011 and Crawford is in line for a contract that will pay him $15 million-$18 million per year, it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll remain with the club for the long term.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.