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Competition Heating Up for Carl Crawford

On Wednesday afternoon, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote an interesting article about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s active interest in bringing Carl Crawford to the West coast. The article explicitly points out the belief that the Boston Red Sox and Angels will go head-to-head in a bidding war for the talented 5-tool outfielder, but Torii Hunter believes the Angels will win Crawford over. It’s a bunch of talk from the Angels, but do they really pose a threat to the Red Sox and likely the Yankees who will all be in the mix for the outfielder? After a disappointing 2010 campaign that resulted in a  80-82 record and a 3rd place finish in the AL West, owner Arte Moreno knows that the pressure is on to improve the team and make them contenders in 2010. If that’s the case, money may be flowing more in LA than ever before.

By no means do I think the Red Sox will walk away from the negotiating table with no competition for the top tier free agent Crawford, but the Angels jumping into the mix scares me a bit. The Sox already always have their hands full with Brian Cashman throwing money at players, but now they have to compete with Tony Reagins (Angels GM) for Crawford’s attention. Since taking over the job in 2007, Reagins has acquire Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui. He has the ability to negotiate with anyone and will likely bring $100+ million to the table when meeting with Crawford, making his agents drool all over themselves. The Sox and Yankees can likely match any offer thrown in the ring by LA, but will Theo be willing to pay more and risk overpaying?

If there is one thing Theo hates to do, it’s overpaying for players. The more teams in a bidding war for a player, the higher the price gets pushed up and the more the team that finally signs that player has to pay. At what point will Theo walk away from the negotiations or does he consider this to be a special case in which money is no object? There are a ton of questions and very few answers at this point, making me nervous about the chances the Fenway faithful get to see Crawford in a Sox uniform for years to come. If it were up to me, I would be willing to reach almost any height to bring in Crawford, because he is an instant game-changer and would practically turn the Sox into a contender in one fell swoop. Let’s hope Theo feels the same way.

If Crawford decides to choose the sunshine of Anaheim and leave the AL East in the dust, the Sox will put all of their resources into Jayson Werth to fill the final outfield spot and add some serious pop to the lineup. For those looking for more on Werth, we have a special guest post tomorrow from BoSox Injection’s good friend and Phillies blogger Justin Klugh over at That Balls Outta Here giving us his feelings on the hairy wonder. As another shameless plug, for my feelings on him, you can check out my guest post on his blog tomorrow, but for now, I will just say I think there is a good reason Werth should be a secondary option and not the Sox primary focus. I digress.

For some reason, I get a gut feeling that the Angels will be a serious contender in the Crawford sweepstakes and will put their money where their mouth is and offer a big sum of cash. If they do, it will certainly create some intrigue and excitement outside the AL East, where so many big-name players have been caught in bidding wars between the bitter rivals of New York and Boston. I just hope that bidding war benefits the Red Sox and doesn’t make Theo and his staff regret not being more aggressive after the fact. Another season that results in missing the playoffs would be devastating for Red Sox fans and may result in some changes at the highest level. The easiest way to try and avoid controversy next off-season: Bring in a few big names this off-season to bulk up the roster and make the post-season in 2011. It’s as easy as that.

Tags: Arte Moreno Boston Red Sox Breaking News Carl Crawford Free Agents Hideki Matsui Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Mark Teixeira New York Yankees Theo Epstein Tony Reagins Torii Hunter

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