Carl Crawford will almost certainly not be a Ray next year. Many of us have admitted it, accepted it, and begun the tearful rosterbation to help forget it. Well, nothing helps you get over an addiction like a relapse, so let's talk more Carl Crawford!
We have had a lot of discussion in the comments lately concerning Carl's next uniform -- will it be pinstripes for our most beloved son, or an 'A' with a halo? Before the 2010 season, many believed ol' Craw-daddy was Oversized Apple-bound, but Brett Gardner -- in a typical, devious white-man fashion -- thrust his hand into the air and said: "Well, I can play that field in left!"
Getting daily plate appearances for the first time in his major league career, Gardner rewarded the Yankees with a nifty .380 OBP and 47 swiped bags. Add in his phenomenal defense, and he looks like an ISO-less Crawfortress. Oh yeah, and Gardner is still a full year away from even his first arbitration. On the other hand, his BABIP was .340 -- that seems pretty lucky, but he is really fast. So, if the Yankees see that BABIP as being mostly Gardner's speed and not his luck, then we should expect them to avoid the Carlian Roulette.
So where do you think he fits? Which division will Crawdoodles call his next home? Let's analyze his potential landing places.
The AL East
The Rays cannot afford him, the Yankees may not need him, but what about the other teams therein? Well, the Blue Jays have expressed disinterest. And are the Orioles still a team? Well, I guess they are. Even if they scrape together enough cash, they still have Felix Pie -- who appears the very archetype of a bust, yet who is probably worth a little more time.
The AL West
The Rangers have David Murphy, going into his first year of Arbitration, on top of Josh Hamilton and the almost humorously good Nelson Cruz (also going in to year 1 arb). They seem pretty set in the outfield. Oakland cannot afford him, and the Mariners probably want to see more of Michael Saunders. If they think Saunders or Crawfantastic can handle center field, they might pursue him -- they have a lot of money coming off the books this offseason, so you never know.
Which brings me to the Angels. It's already been rumored the Angels have the interest and have the money -- they also should have the vacancies. LA could see as much as $40 million
Abraham Lincolns General Washingtons come off the books this winter. That's more than enough acquire Crawfun and buy Banaroo tickets for Kazmir and the gang.
The AL Central
I believe the Royals, Twins, and Indians are all too poor to pursue C-squared. The Tigers are rumored to be interested and should be seeing some payroll flexibility with departing free agents. The White Sox can afford him, but they may not want to bench Juan Pierre after hoarding 68 stolen bases in 2010.
The NL East
The Braves could definitely use Craw-Craw a lot, but they have quite a few financial obligations and an already crowded outfield. The Nationals -- in typical Washington style -- love to throw money at their problems. I expect they will pursue Carl-poo until they realize they are bidding more money than they actually have.
The NL West
If the Giants think Pat Burrell will continue to frustrate Rays fans, then they may not participate. But if they want to think long-term, then Crawtastic looks mighty pretty. Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTR thinks the Padres may surprise some people. He notes their highly flexible 2011 payroll and suspects a run for the Crawmonger.
The NL Central
The Cubs have laughably mismanaged themselves into a straitjacket. Every other team in that division is pretty much too poor to afford uniforms, much less a Crawfirdy million dollar contract. The Reds have the want, but probably not the means. The Cardinals have the means, but they also have Matt Holiday under contract until about 4 years after the end of the Mayan calendar.
So, DRaysBay, where does Carl Crawforgetmenot land?