Go to Disney Land? We must admit, our first reaction to hearing rumors of C. C. being traded was to send Andrew Friedman to his room wihout dessert. With so many talented outfielders in the organization, why trade the one that is arguably the best of the bunch? Well, once we let out a good cry, blew our nose and put the bottle of liquor down, we thought about it some more. Maybe, just maybe, Crawford is the most logical player to trade.
First, let’s look at it from the point of view of the teams looking to acquire C. C. Which teams are going to offer the best prospects? Teams that are in playoff contention. Those teams are not looking for a Delmon Young or an Elijah Dukes or a Joey Gathright. Those players are young and unproven at the Major League level. A team making a push for the playoffs needs a bat to fill a hole now, not to fill a hole next season. Rocco Baldelli? Too many question marks with Rocco still. Will he be able to hold up physically, playing everyday? Will he ever regain the speed he had before his injuries? Jonny Gomes? An injured shoulder means he is limited to DH duties.
Now let’s look at it from the Devil Rays’ point of view. If the team wants to win, it needs pitching, both starters and relievers. All the offense in the world will never make a team a playoff contender if the pitchers can’t get anybody out. So what are the team’s most valuable chips. There is an obvious surplus of outfielders. So which one? Delmon Young? His stock couldn’t be lower right now. Elijah Dukes? A troubled past with tons of potential, means he is more valuable to the Rays than to another organization. Rocco Baldelli? Maybe. He has a payroll friendly contract, but as we stated before, there are too many question marks. Besides, when healthy, and productive, he is probably the most popular Devil Ray. Another extremely popular D-Ray is Jonny Gomes, but the team knows his stock is diminished with his current injury, and there is little to show that he is a capable outfielder even when healthy. That leaves Crawford. He has a payroll friendly contract. He is a proven major leaguer, with plenty of speed and the potential to develop into a 30-30 player. Sounds like the ideal player. Great speed…potential power…could hit .330…still young…signed through 2010…Sounds perfect. So why would a team want to trade Carl Crawford? They wouldn’t. So that led us to believe that these rumors were just rumors.
But…then we dug a little deeper. There are rumors of Crawford to the Angels for Ervin Santana. There are also rumors of Crawford to the Rockies. Where are the rumors coming from? To figure that out, you need to know who benefits most from the rumors. The only logical place is that they are being leaked by the Devil Rays’ front office. Why? Because the same reasons a team wouldn’t trade a player like Carl Crawford is exactly the same reason a team would want a player like Carl Crawford. And if there is a market for Carl Crawford (there is) the way to get the best deal is to turn the situation into a bidding war. C. C. is the sort of player that teams will fight over and fight for.
Crawford is the one player that can command a steep price. In fact, Crawford is the one player that teams may potentially overpay for. Would we hate to see C. C. go? Of course. But we also know that pitching is the key and and there aren’t a whole lot of keys in the Devil Rays’ organization.
- Crawford could be the next Angel in the outfield. [Sporting News]