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MLB Free Agent Rumors: Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee Up for Big Money

While baseball won’t have a free agent summit quite like the NBA did this past offseason, there is still one hefty prize still on the market.  Most teams won’t have pockets deep enough to contend for the big fish in this year’s free agent class, Cliff Lee.

Aside from Lee, the next best player (arguably) looking for a big payday is left fielder, Carl Crawford.


Where Will Crawford End Up?

Every team in baseball could use a guy like Carl Crawford.  For his career he is batting .296 and just recorded his best slugging percentage in a season.  His worth extends well beyond the plate, however, as he won the 2010 Gold Glove (and the Silver Slugger).

While everybody could use a guy like Crawford, very few teams can actually afford him.  All the usual suspects, the Yankees and the Red Sox could look to acquire him.  Additionally, the Angels, Tigers, Rangers and really the Nationals might also look to make noise to acquire him.

By all accounts, the Angels appear to be the front runner.  They have signaled their willingness to spend money this offseason and need to re-tool to keep pace with division foes.  The Tigers have a lot of money coming off their books and might look to make a play but the Angels have the added bonus of having Crawford’s friend, Tori Hunter on the roster. 

Ultimately, while the Red Sox may pursue Crawford, early reports indicate that Jayson Werth might be the favored option. I think Crawford will end up with the Angels.


The Cliff Lee Summit

Cliff Lee is easily the best pitcher on the market right now.  As with Carl Crawford, very few teams have the cash available to sign a guy like Lee. 

The Rangers, Yankees, Nationals, Phillies, Red Sox and Cubs have all indicated some level of interest, but the early front runners are the Rangers and Yankees.

The Rangers front office recently met with Lee in Arkansas but have not made an offer.  Reportedly, this meeting focused less on compensation but on quality of life.  The Rangers know they can’t outbid the Yankees and are hoping to sell Arlington’s proximity to Lee’s Arkansas home.

The Yankees have stated that pitching is their top priority in the offseason.  Lee would certainly solidify their rotation.  CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee played together in Cleveland and are reportedly good friends.  Whether that has any impact on Lee’s decision remains to be seen. 

Ultimately, however, Lee will demand a contract like Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract.  I think in all likelihood, the Yankees will win the bidding war and end up with Lee on their roster next year.

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World Series 2010: Can Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers Keep Up the Pace?

This World Series won’t showcase the teams most of us expected or the MLB probably wanted.

But even casual fans, and all Yankee and Philly detractors, will be excited to see a few new faces in this year’s Fall Classic.

The Giants haven’t been to a World Series since 2002, and it’s well documented that the Rangers are making their World Series debut.

The Rangers battered pitchers all season, ending the regular season ranked fifth in runs with the league’s highest batting average. In the postseason the Rangers have outscored their opponents 59-32, pounding both Yankee and Tampa Bay starters and relievers.

On the other side, the Giants bring arguably the best rotation in baseball to the World Series. Anchored by 2008 and 2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants had the lowest ERA in baseball this season at 3.68. That ERA has shrunk during the playoffs to 2.47.

This is the big matchup: one of the best hitting teams in baseball against the deepest rotation. Cliff Lee aside, the rest of the Rangers rotation is unlikely to pitch shutouts, and the Giants are unlikely to tee off for 10 runs in a game. The World Series will turn on this matchup. The Giants will score a few runs here and there and hope their pitching gets the job done.


Tim Lincecum

This season Lincecum did not face off against the Rangers. After his 14-strikeout playoff debut, Lincecum was steady, if not brilliant, against the Phillies. Expect him to pitch well at home against a lineup dominated by right-handers. Also, look for him to try to neutralize Josh Hamilton with his devastating change-up rather than go after him the way Yankees did.


Matt Cain

Cain pitched a brilliant game against the Phillies in the NLCS. The Phillies’ lefty lineup favored Cain, and he may struggle to replicate that dominance against the Rangers.


Jonathan Sanchez

Sanchez pitched poorly in his start against the Phillies, but the bullpen saved him. That is the big advantage for the Giants. They may have a slight advantage with their starters, but they certainly have a better bullpen. If need be, the Giants can lean on that.


Madison Bumgarner

The Giants’ 21-year-old fourth starter will face a stiff test in Game 4 if Bruce Bochy decides to call on him. He’s pitched well in the postseason but hasn’t faced a lineup like this.



Basically, the Giants don’t generate a lot of offense. Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell, the Giants’ big hitters in the regular season, have struggled in the postseason. This offense isn’t rolling the way it was down the stretch in the regular season. Cliff Lee, one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in history, is likely to shut them down. For the Giants to overcome Lee’s starts, the pitching staff will have to be lights out.

Honestly, I just don’t see that happening.

Prediction: Rangers in six

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