There's a lot of bellyaching about Carl Crawford's remaining $130 million, and with good reason. He was barely better than Darnell McDonald last year, and to top it off he enter this year with an injury and, once again, no clear spot in the Red Sox' stacked lineup.
But believe it or not, Carl's deal is not the worst in baseball, at least according to Scott Campbell of the Huffington Post (and Rob Neyer of SB Nation, who appears to agree). Here's the list Campbell came up with, using the figures of remaining years and dollars:
- Jayson Werth: 6 yrs, $115 million
- Ryan Howard: 5 yrs, $125 million
- Alex Rodriguez: 6 yrs, $143 million
- Vernon Wells: 3 yrs, $74 million
- Barry Zito: 2 yrs, $46 million
- John Lackey: 3 yrs, $48 million
- Prince Fielder: 9 yrs, $214 million
- Albert Pujols: 10 yrs, $240 million
- Alfonso Soriano: 3 yrs, $54 million
- Carl Crawford: 6 yrs, $127 million
I'd say it's hard to argue with most of the names used, although I'd quibble with the order. Vernon Wells is a completely useless $74 million. I'd much rather have Werth (who could still be a good player), even for $40 million. To me, Wells is the worst of the bunch.
And isn't A-Rod a little high? Sure, he dropped off, but would you bet against another three or four good-to-great seasons from him? I wouldn't, as much as I'd like to. Again, I'd rather pay A-Rod more (and longer) than Vernon Wells. Don't you think San Francisco would flip Zito for A-Rod, if the Yankees made the offer? I do.
The important thing is, Carl isn't the worst. And the list accurately captures this: I wouldn't trade Carl straight up for any of these players. It's more likely that he'll bounce back and give some (considerable) value over the course of his deal, than, say, Alfonso Soriano doing anything useful for the next three years. And if Ben Cherington disagrees, I'm sure Jed Hoyer would like to have a conversation with him.
I actually don't think Carl should even be on the list. Off the top of my head, there are two other deals that I'd want no part of: the 7 years, $161 million remaining on Joe Mauer's contract, and the $110 million Texas committed to Yu Darvish (including posting fee) for six years. Carl's a better bet to perform than either of those two. Ted's Army's own Ben Fountain nominates AJ Burnett (2 yrs, $33 million), Johan Santana (2 yrs, $49.5 with a $5.5 termination penalty), and Adam Dunn (3 yrs, $44 million), all good suggestions, albeit with fewer years committed than much of this list.
I'll actually make a slight defense of John Lackey: I don't think I'd swap him for Soriano either, even considering he's out this year. Unless the injury clause in his contract is misunderstood, he should be locked in for a minimum salary for 2015, effectively turning this into 4 years, $49 million. Better AAV, and three healthy years in which he could (theoretically) make a contribution.