Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman recently spoke with Carl Crawford about his first offseason as a free agent, and more specifically his talks with the Los Angeles Angels before accepting an offer from the Boston Red Sox.
At the beginning of the offseason, it seemed to be a forgone conclusion that Crawford would sign in Los Angeles, but the Angels offer of six years for $108 million, plus an option, was considerably less than Boston’s offer of $142 million over seven years.
It was weird. I heard they said my contract was too much. Then they paid more (per year) to Vernon Wells. I didn’t understand that. He’s 31 and I’m 29. It didn’t make sense to me.
That’s actually not quite right.
If we believe that the Blue Jays paid the Angels an additional $5 million in the deal, and we include the savings Los Angeles made by moving Mike Napoli ($5.8 million) and Juan Rivera ($5.25 million), the Angels have actually agreed to pay roughly $70 million for the next four years of Vernon Wells, or $17.5 million per season. Crawford’s proposed contract would’ve been around $18 million a year, while he ended up signing for approximately $20.3 million annually with Boston.
There’s still something to be said for the Angels trading for what was considered one of the most untradeable contracts in the history of baseball, but their commitment to Wells remains far less than what it would’ve taken to bring Carl Crawford to the West Coast.
Again, this isn’t an excuse for the Angels terrible offseason which failed to address any of the team’s needs, especially at third base, where Alberto Callaspo, Kevin Frandsen, Maicer Izturis and Brandon Wood combined for a .573 OPS.
A more apt comparison for taking on the Wells money might be Adrian Beltre’s contract with the Texas Rangers, which pays the best defensive third baseman in the league $80 million over five years, averaging out to be $16 million annually. It’s difficult to imagine a team more in need of a third baseman and less in need of an aging center fielder with declining defensive skills than the Angels.
The whole scenario reminds me of that scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade when the bad guy takes a sip of water from the fake Holy Grail. He, much like Angels GM Tony Reagins, did not choose wisely.
An interesting thought from Jerry Crasnick suggests that Beltre’s representation may have had something to do with the Angels nominal interest in him.
Owner Arte Moreno left the impression that his lingering animosity toward Scott Boras kept the team from jumping in on Beltre.