Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Man-crush Alert: Carl Crawford

It's hard for me to describe how much I want Carl Crawford on the Mets next season. It may have crossed the line from liking him as a player to serious man-crush territory. Crawford is everything the Mets need (except for a power-hitting 1B, #2-5 starter, middle relief, manager, GM, competent public relations staff, etc.). The Rays have a $10 mm club option for him in 2010 with a $1.25 mm buyout. It's not secret that the Rays are attempting to move some salary to upgrade some other positions, and with a plethora of young outfielders ready to make the leap to the majors, Crawford seems like the most logical option. They'll likely explore the trade market before buying out his contract, but the Mets should be in the mix either way. It's actually *gasp* possible for him to be a Met next season.

On to the man-crush. Here's a list of reasons why the Mets need him, because lists look important and professional.

  1. Speed. The man can fly around the basepaths and in the outfield. He has amassed 46 or more steals in every full season in his career except last year, an injury riddled campaign that saw him play only 109 games. Prior to this season, he racked up 9 or more triples for 6 straight seasons. Given a modest Citi Field projection, Crawford could hit about 35-40 triples next season in blue and orange. A 1-2 of Reyes and Crawford, followed by RBI machines Wright and Beltran instantly transforms this into one of the most potent offenses in the league. Throw Angel Pagan into right field and the Mets will have to start buying flame-retardant dirt for the infield.
  2. Fielding. The Mets always wanted a team built around speed and defense, but have yet to actually put the product on the field. Though LF is one of the least important positions according to WAR, Crawford would nonetheless be a huge upgrade over Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, Gary Sheffield, Cory Sullivan, and any other (s)crap the Mets have so uncaringly thrown into left field this season. Crawford also has the ability to play CF if Beltran's knees diminish his range significantly at any point, though his sub-par arm is easier to hide in left.
  3. He's exciting to watch. Perhaps this would go under the speed category, but it's still an important consideration. Crawford hitting triple after triple will put butts in the seat. If Jose Reyes ever blossoms into the superstar he sometimes looks like he can be, the Mets will be flashy and energetic. Heck, maybe they can finally have their own identity too, a far departure from the constant need to be like our stuffy, pinstriped cross-town rivals. Anything separating the Mets from the Yankees is a plus in my book, a book entitled "Things That Are Awesome."
  4. He's not Jeff Francouer. Crawford may not be universally known as gritty or hard-nosed or dirty or whatever else you call players with an annoying grin and minimal talent, but he is something that Frenchy is not: GOOD. Why pay $3-5 million (projections) in arbitration for a guy who offers little more than a cool breeze down the first base line as he whiffs at yet another first pitch breaking ball? Spend the extra money (and perhaps prospects, if he needs to be traded for) to get a potential 5-win player.
  5. He's in his prime. Enough with waiting for Fernando Martinez to turn into a stud overnight. Enough with signing guys like Sheffield and Tatis, wishing upon a star that they can return to some shell of their former selves. Enough with trading for "change of scenery" guys like Jeff Francouer, hoping a new team will suddenly make him a player he has never even shown the potential to be. Crawford's time is NOW. No waiting, no hoping, just results. If that isn't the best reason in the world, I don't know what is. If the front office really think the Mets can contend for a title in 2010, this is the kind of move that HAS to be made.

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