Crawford To The Angels Would Be Bad Business For Rays

This week Carl Crawford received the first Gold Glove of his career. Although it is an individual award celebrating C.C.’s excellent defense, it serves a nice parting gift for fans who were able to see him collect first one as a member of Tampa Bay organization. On the other hand, Rays’ Senior Advisor Don Zimmer put it best on Sirius/XM radio when he said the team has “no chance” of re-signing Crawford.

At this stage of the grieving process, most fans of the Tampa Bay Rays have accepted the fact the Carl Crawford will not be in a Rays’ uniform next season. With that in mind, many have begun to speculate about where he might land.

The New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox present nightmare scenarios as the thought of facing Crawford in an enemy robe 18 times a year would be hurtful both emotionally and in terms of on-field results.

Plenty of teams other than New York or Boston would love to have Crawford, but realistically only a handful have the means to play him upwards of $100-$110 million. Joining our American League East rivals, the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers are two other teams that could offer the money Crawford wants and have the need for his services. Both cases may seem rather harmless to Rays’ fans – who don’t have strong feelings toward either team – however, when you look a bit further, the Angels are the Rays’ real enemy in this whole process.

The organization will openly admit replacing C.C. on the field will be tough to do. As mentioned here before, Desmond Jennings and others should do a fine job, but Crawford is one of the best players in the game. Part of the healing process for the franchise/fanbase going forward is knowing the team will received draft pick compensation for him – which should help replenish the system in future years.

Crawford was ranked a Type-A free agent by the Elias Sports Bureau – meaning if the Rays offer him arbitration (they will), and he declines (he will), any team that signs him must surrender their first non-protected pick in the 2011 draft to Tampa Bay. In addition, the Rays will pick up a supplemental pick in the “sandwich round” between the first and second rounds.

In most cases (Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers) the Rays would receive a first-round pick from the signing team. Meanwhile, if a team finished in the lower-half of the standings, their first-round pick is protected and their second-round pick is used as compensation.

With their 2010 record of 80-82, the Angels fall in the lower-half of the standings. This means the Rays would receive a second-round pick and a supplemental pick for Crawford if he signs with Los Angeles instead of a first-rounder.

In an even worse scenario, should the Angels sign Crawford AND closer Rafael Soriano (who is also drawing interest from the Chicago White Sox), the Rays would get L.A.’s second-round pick for Soriano (ranked higher by Elias than Crawford) and a third-round pick for Crawford. This would put a huge blow to the Rays’ plan of receiving premium draft compensation for their top free-agents – something that is vital to the team’s success in future seasons.

Reports out of Los Angeles say the Angels are prepared to offer Crawford the first $100-million contract in franchise history. If this is true – for our sake – let us hope the Detroit Tigers are willing to go even further in their pursuit of the Rays’ franchise player.