Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Carl Crawford

Alongside Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford is the biggest name on the free agent market. So far he has been linked to the Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers.

2010 was Crawford’s best season as a professional, as he posted a line of .307/.356/.495/.378/141 and 6.9 WAR over 663 PA. His OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and WAR were all career highs, and he was phenomenal with the glove once again.With a season like that, it’s quite obvious why a lot of teams are licking at the bit to sign him.

However, he will turn 30 during the 2011 season and is a speed and defense type player. If any of those attributes goes, his overall value will take a hit. Defense tends to decline as players age, so that is the risk of paying Crawford eight figures in his mid-thirties. But if he stays athletic, Crawford could be a good player for a long time.

Although his offense will surely regress from 2010 and we may never see him hit that well again, his defense should continue to be superb. Yes, defense tends to decline as a player ages, but there are exceptions. Crawford is freakish athlete who has long been considered the best defensive outfielder alongside Ichiro by fans and defensive numbers. Speaking of Ichiro- another freakish athlete-he is someone who has not seen a dip in his defensive performance. While more fielders go the way of Tori Hunter than Ichiro, I believe Crawford keeps himself in the type of shape that will allow him to continue to be a premium defender well into his thirties.

With that said, I think Crawford will be a serviceable player going forward. I think he will only be a mediocre hitter by the time his deal is up, but his defense will make him valuable. In 2011 I think he’ll be worth about 5.5 WAR with a win being worth $4.5mil. So lets make a table to see how his value will stack up down the road.

Inflation, inflation, inflation. A 3 WAR being worth $21mil in the 2016 market? We’ll see about that, but in this type of analysis you’re supposed to increase the $ per WAR by 0.5 each year.

So yeah, Carl Crawford could be worth a 6/142mil deal or 5/121mil deal. In reality I don’t think he actually get paid that much, but he will definitely receive a nine figure contract for five or six years. And yes, I do think it’s realistic he averages about 4-5 WAR from 30-35.

I think he signs in Los Angeles. The Angels REALLY want him. Although I could see him Boston. However, I think Boston would be more inclined to sign Werth than Crawford. But that’s just a hunch.

 

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One Comment on “Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Carl Crawford”

  1. redsoxtalk Says:

    You hit Crawford’s contract spot on. Congrats on that!


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