LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. (AP) - Outfielder Carl Crawford has reached a preliminary agreement with the Boston Red Sox on a $142 million, seven-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The agreement is subject to Crawford passing a physical, the person said Wednesday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final.
Crawford’s deal was first reported by The Boston Globe on its website.
“He’s a difference maker for any club he goes to,” manager Joe Girardi of the rival New York Yankees said before the agreement became known. “He changes the complexion of the game. When he’s up, when he’s on the bases, he’s a great player. We’ve had a chance to see him a lot over the last six or seven years. And he’s a pain. That is the type of player he is. You know that any single can be a triple. It’s easy for him to score runs.”
The Yankees also had been speaking with Crawford, even as they made left-hander Cliff Lee their top priority.
“It’s not going to change the way we allocate our money,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said early Thursday.
A four-time All-Star and a first-time Gold Glove winner this year, Crawford hit .307 this year for Tampa Bay and set career highs with 19 homers and 90 RBIs. A four-time stolen base champion, he also swiped 47 bases and led the AL with 13 triples.
He joins a powerful lineup that already includes designated hitter Ortiz and newly acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and helps fill some of the production lost by the departure of catcher Victor Martinez and possible departure of Adrian Beltre. Crawford figures to play left field in an outfield that projects to have Mike Cameron or Jacoby Ellsbury in center and J.D. Drew in right.
With Crawford and Gonzalez, the Red Sox hope to replicate the power threat they had when Ortiz and Manny Ramirez helped them win World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Crawford batted .324 last season at Fenway Park.
“It’s always a good feeling when you play nice, clean, crisp baseball, but when you have guys in the middle that can hit the three-run homer, that helps, too,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Tuesday. “If you have to go through the lineup as an opposing pitcher and you have guys with that ability, at some point you should get nicked up.”
The Los Angeles Angels had been considered the front-runner to land Crawford, and Cashman met with him on Tuesday night.
The average annual value of Crawford’s contract, $20,285,714, is the seventh highest among current players, trailing only those of Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million), Ryan Howard’s deal that starts in 2012 ($25 million), CC Sabathia and Joe Mauer ($23 million), Johan Santana ($22,916,667) and Mark Teixeira ($22.5 million).
It is the 10th-largest contract in baseball history behind Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million and $252 million deals, and agreements for Derek Jeter ($189 million), Mauer ($184 million), Teixeira ($180 million), Sabathia ($161 million), Manny Ramirez ($160 million), Troy Tulowitzki ($157.75 million) and Miguel Cabrera ($152.3 million).
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