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.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.