Must-click link: How the Red Sox landed Carl Crawford

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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.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.