Is Carl Crawford really worth the eight-year deal that he’s demanding?

Will Jayson Werth turn into the next J.D. Drew if he signs with the club?

While there are undoubtedly pros and cons to signing each player for the club, it’s clear that they need to make an aggressive move fast. Already having lost catcher Victor Martinez to the Detroit Tigers (four years, $50 million) via free agency, the team appears very likely to also wave goodbye to one-year wonder 3B Adrian Beltre.

Those two players combined for 48 taters and an incredible 181 RBI last season, and those numbers certainly won’t be easy to replace. Additionally, both batted over .300 and provided very good protection to the lineup.

With Big Papi coming back on a $12.5 million price tag and near $35 million invested into two under-performing starting pitchers in John Lackey and Josh Beckett, GM Theo Epstein and the rest of the front office have to be very wise about how they go about allocating the remainder of the budget.

But one thing remains crystal clear: the Red Sox desperately need a marquee outfielder.

Notoriously unwilling to offer lengthy, lucrative deals to free agents, Crawford may very well be worth the investment. A unique player with an extraordinary skill set, the other CC enjoyed the best season of his career in 2010: .307/19/90 with 110 runs scored and 47 stolen bases. 

Although he’s not the middle-of-the-order big-bopper that many fans want, Crawford’s presence at the top of the lineup would provide the Sox with a critical element that they often lack: speed. Capable of getting to any ball that would come his way in left field at Fenway, the speedster would also be a menace to opposing teams that let him get on base.

At just 29 years old, this will likely be the one and only megadeal that Crawford signs in his career, so fans can bet that he’ll be looking to collect every last penny he can. With several other suitors hot on his tail as well, most notably the free-spending Angels, it will be interesting to see whether or not the Red Sox are indeed serious in their pursuit of the very talented outfielder.

The team reportedly met with Jayson Werth and his agent, Scott Boras, on Wednesday morning. At age 31, the bearded power hitter is looking to cash in on the success he enjoyed in Philadelphia. But there are two primary concerns regarding the veteran: his capability to produce long-term, and more importantly, his home/road split stats.

A .296 hitter last season (.296/27/85 106 runs scored and 13 stolen bases), Werth hit just .270 on the road. Many have suggested that playing in a very hitter-friendly park in Philly has attributed to his success, and while that may be true, he should have no problem banging doubles off the fence all day off of the Green Monster.

However, Werth hit only half the amount of homers, drove in 17 less runs, and even struck out more on the road than he did at home. While he’s certainly capable of contributing in other ways, he’s probably not going to eclipse the 30+ home run plateau.

Having said that, he is most definitely one of the top prizes in a very weak free agent class, and it’s almost certain that someone will overpay him, leaving the Red Sox in quite a conundrum.

Should the team overpay an aging (and probably declining) veteran for four years and hope that he can produce like he has shown over the last few seasons, or do they go all in on Crawford, greatly limiting their financial flexibility for the long-term?

The answer remains unclear at this point, but there is one thing that is certain.

They need to do something on the offensive side, as last year’s attempt to reach the postseason through pitching and defense clearly didn’t work out for them. Yes, there was significant bad luck along the way, but that’s all in the past.

As Dick Vitale would say, “Just win, baby!” and if the Red Sox want to take home a division title, either of these two would be a positive step in that direction. 

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