Known best for his blazing speed and superlative outfield defense, Crawford is a prototypical leadoff hitter.
Crawford, who spent the first nine years of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, had been considered the top position player on the free-agent market this offseason. His deal is similar to that of outfielder Jayson Werth, formerly of the Phillies, who landed a hefty deal (seven years, $126MM) with the Nationals earlier this offseason.
As for the exact alignment of the Red Sox outfield with the newly added Crawford, that remains to be seen. Boston already has a handful of serviceable types in its outfield in Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew and Ryan Kalish. To boot, the DH slot is manned by David Ortiz, and first base is now occupied by Boston’s other notable offseason acquisition, Adrian Gonzalez.
For the Rays, the loss of Crawford comes as little surprise. They were long expected to lose Crawford’s services on account of their considerable financial constraints, although they have a promising blue-chip prospect in Desmond Jennings to replace him.