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 Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?