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Carl Crawford fills many needs for Red Sox

Late-night reports Wednesday have Carl Crawford reaching a preliminary agreement with the Boston Red Sox on a seven-year, $142 million contract. The deal is subject to passing a physical.

If this deal becomes official, it will be the sixth-largest free-agent contract in terms of total value in MLB history. Crawford’s contract, reported at just over $20M a season, would also be the second largest in terms of average salary all-time among outfielders, trailing only the $22.5M contract given to Manny Ramirez by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Carl Crawford vs Red Sox LF Last Season

Crawford’s career high for single-season home runs is 19, done last season. That’s significant because Crawford would become the first player to ever sign a $100 million contract without ever having had a 20-homer season.

The previous lowest home run career high for a player before signing a $100 million contract belonged to Derek Jeter, who had a career high of 24 homers before signing a $189 million dollar contract that lasted from 2001-10.

Crawford would fill a big need for the Red Sox: production from an outfielder. Last season, Boston outfielders ranked 28th in the majors with a .245 BA and .317 OBP, while striking out 445 times, the fourth-highest total in the majors.

Crawford’s glove would fill another of Boston’s needs. Red Sox outfielders ranked last in the defensive metric runs saved (-41), a measure that combines the ability to turn batted balls into outs, deter baserunners and rob home runs. Crawford has ranked as the best defensive left fielder by this measure in each of the past three seasons.

Carl Crawford, AL Ranks Last Season

Crawford would be a unique player to join the Red Sox as he provides plenty of speed on offense with a little pop in his bat. Last season Crawford had at least 100 runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 15 home runs.

In the past 70 seasons, Nomar Garciaparra is the only Red Sox player to reach those marks in a single season, doing so in 1997 and 2003. Before Garciaparra, Ted Williams was the most recent Red Sox player to do it, in 1940.