With news that the Rays and Carl Crawford have decided to postpone contract talks until after the season, speculation has already started on what type of contract CC might command in the open-market…
Opinion as to how much Crawford will earn was varied among a group of nearly 20 agents and club executives polled on Thursday by FOXSports.com. Some of the most common estimates centered on five-year deals worth between $12 million and $16 million per annum…Others believed that Crawford’s annual salary should approach the $18 million that Torii Hunter will receive from the Angels in each of the next three seasons. Hunter, though, has the added value of playing center field and having hit over 20 home runs eight times.
A 29-year old player whose game is based on speed? Our feeling is that most clubs will only want to give Crawford a 5-year deal, but somebody will go as high 7-years to get it done. We still think 7-years, $100 million (~$15M/yr) will be Crawford’s new deal when the smoke settles.
This is why we were surprised the Rays and Crawford were negotiating at all. What can you do if you are the Rays? Maybe the team can stretch and offer 4-years, $48 million ($12M/yr). But even if the Rays do put their best offer on the table, they take the risk of Crawford laughing at best and being genuinely insulted at worst. Which is why there is a good chance the Rays never discussed numbers even if there were “negotiations.”
So now we wait. We wait and see how the Rays perform in the first-half. We wait and see how Desmond Jennings plays in the first-half. We wait and see if the Rays get an offer they can’t refuse prior to the trade-deadline. And if that offer is significantly better than the two draft picks they would receive for CC walking as a free agent, we wait and see if the Rays say “yes” even if they are still in the race.