On December 7, DevilRays.com ran an article entitled “Baldelli continues to draw interest; Crawford will stay put.” This article led many to assume that Carl Crawford was no longer available to other teams in a potential trade. Across Devil Rays message boards, many were even attributing this as a direct quote to Andrew Friedman. In fact, Crawford’s name does not even appear in the article, even though his picture does. The title of the article has since been changed to “Baldelli continues to draw interest”, removing any mention of Crawford even though his picture continues to appear on the webpage. The original title can still be seen here in the right column, under “More Headlines.” The article can now be seen with the new, amended title here.
This leads to the inevitable question…Why was the original title changed? Was the title simply changed once it was realized that Crawford was not even mentioned in the article? Was the original title written by an editor that did not read the article closely? Was there mention of Crawford in an earlier version, prior to being published on the website, that included direct references to Crawford? If so, what were those references and why were they edited out? Or…Did the Devil Rays front office request that the title be changed? If the latter were true, it would suggest to us that Crawford is still available to other teams, and the Rays did not want egg on their face if C. C. does in fact get traded at some point this off-season.
It is highly unlikely that Crawford is considered an untouchable now as the original title suggested. While he may be expensive, in terms of talent, every player has a price. While the team may prefer to trade other players (Rocco Baldelli, B. J. Upton or Elijah Dukes), if a team were to approach the Rays with two young major league starting pitchers with all-star potential (think Scott Olsen and Josh Johnson), Andrew Friedman would be forced to listen. There have been several teams that have inquired about Baldelli, yet nothing appears to be imminent. It may be that the Rays will be unable to acquire the player(s) they desire with Rocco and Friedman may have to re-visit the idea of trading Carl Crawford.