I was traveling for work yesterday and today so I missed the Crawford news when it broke. In fact, I found out about when my Red Sox-fan friend from college sent me a text asking if he should get a Crawford jersey or a
Gonzalez jersey. (My response: grown men shouldn’t wear another man’s shirt.)
I need more time to process it but, here is my first reaction while I sit here waiting for my flight: We will hate this deal for three years and love it for four years.
Now that he has gone, we can finally admit the dirty secret Rays fans have agreed to overlook since CC arrived: he is great but not irreplaceable. It’s not his fault. He is a wonderful player and, from my experience with him, a better person. But he plays leftfield. And leftfielders that can run are pretty common (and pretty useless in Fenway). That isn’t to discount CC, who was worth 6.9 wins for our club last year. He is a great player and we will miss him, just not as much as we’d miss a centerfielder that did the same thing.
Either way, the length of the contract stuns me in light of CC’s game. The two greatest basestealers of all time (Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock) peaked at 29 and 35 respectively. Brock’s SB totals were basically cut in half when he was 36 and half again when he was 38 (and that was an era when it was good to run). Henderson’s steals were down 60% after his 34 year old season and continued to decline until a freak rebirth at 38 (hmmmmm what was happening in the Oakland clubhouse in 1998?).
The Sox just bought CC’s 30-37 year old seasons. [EDIT: Jonah Keri properly notes that they bought CC's 30-36 year old seasons.] Do they really think his career arc will be different than Lou Brock or Rickey Henderson? I don’t.
That said, I am not looking forward to those 30-34 year old seasons.