If we’ve learned anything about Red Sox ownership, it’s that they don’t taking losing lying down.
Only three times since John Henry and Co. took over have the Red Sox failed to make the postseason. The first two times — in 2002 and ’06 — they were aggressive offseason players, and their myriad of moves translated into World Series titles.
So even as the world awoke Thursday to the stunning news of outfielder Carl Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million megadeal — just days after the Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez — the maneuvering shouldn’t have been unexpected.
The length and cost of the Crawford deal? That was something no one — not the media, the fan base and certainly not the Yankees or Angels — saw coming. And while paying more than $20 million per year for a player built for speed, not power, may seem extreme, it sets the Sox up for years of roster stability.
With the 2011 free-agent class looking thin, Boston made its big moves now, locking up a premier first baseman and left fielder for years to come, alongside a starting rotation that still ranks among the league’s best.
But was it too much money for just two players? Consider this: In 2006, the Red Sox invested $200 million in free agents Daisuke Matsuzaka, Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew. Such lavish spending did not prevent the Sox from winning the 2007 World Series, even as all three acquisitions performed below expectations.
Even at $300 million — with Gonzalez expected to sign a $154 million extension in April — the Red Sox have invested in two bona-fide All-Stars, and still have $10 million remaining to bolster the only glaring hole remaining: in the bullpen.
“[Bleeping] Theo,” an anonymous general manager told Sports Illustrated Thursday. “What a brilliant move.”
There was some speculation Thursday that Crawford would replace J.D. Drew in right field.
Don’t bet on it. Crawford has only played left and center, and has only ever seemed happy in left.