TRADE WINDS: According to an industry source, the Rangers and White Sox have shown interest in CF B.J. Upton, and the Mets and Braves have inquired about All-Star LF Carl Crawford. The Rays have said they're interested in discussing a long-term deal with Crawford, who is eligible to be a free agent after the 2010 season.Carl Crawford wants to be a Ray long term. The Rays want to sign Carl Crawford long term. So what's the problem here?
The Rays have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball and Crawford, 28, is one of the best left fielders in baseball and is sure to command a huge salary on the free agent market next winter.
But like I said before, the good news is that both sides seem interested in getting a deal done. Can a deal actually happen? That's another story.
Let's take a look at the goals for each side:
1. Lock up Carl Crawford long term
2. Don't eat up too much payroll
The Carl Crawford Camp
1. Big money contract
2. Attempt to maximize Crawford's value in Tampa
3. Increased salary in 2010
4. Stay in Tampa (if that's really what he wants)
So how about this deal for Crawford and the Rays?
(3 years/$45 million)
Here is the contractual breakdown:
2010: $13 million
2011: $14 million
2012: $18 million
Why it works for the Rays:
1. Buyout two free agent years
2. Keep Crawford in Tampa
3. Prevent him from hitting the open market
4. Affordable contract and possible trade chip in the future
Why it works for Crawford
1. Stays in Tampa
2. Makes more money in 2010
3. Crawford can be a free agent when he is 30 years old
4. Guaranteed money
I dunno about this one. I imagine that this is what it will take for the Rays to sign Crawford, but can anyone actually see this type of deal happening? Are the Rays really ready to commit so much of their payroll to one guy? Assuming they have a $60 million dollar payroll, signing Crawford to this extension would take up at least 25% of the total payroll every year. Not good. But then again, the Rays are set to lose Carlos Pena, Pat Burrell and Dan Wheeler next winter so maybe the Rays will actually have some funds to play with.
The Rays would be able to hold onto one of their most valuable assets for a few seasons and hope to the baseball Gods that they get a new stadium, which means increased revenue in the future, which means a higher payroll for the Rays.
One can dream, right?
Do the Rays have any chance to sign Crawford to a long term deal this winter?
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