Carl Crawford Ripple Effect: 5 Moves Other Teams Now Must Make

Daniel LewigCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2010

Carl Crawford Ripple Effect: 5 Moves Other Teams Now Must Make

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    Carl Crawford has signed the richest outfield contract in Major League Baseball history, and it has left other teams in the American League scrambling.

    It has been a bizarre and very cash-driven start to the 2011 Winter Meetings.

    Boston has clearly emerged with potentially the best offense in the American League.

    But other teams will try to make sure that it's not enough to get them the AL pennant.

    Here are five moves other AL teams will make to keep themselves in contention.

5) Angels Will Finally Deal with Scott Boras, Sign Adrian Beltre

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    The Angels owner still isn't on speaking terms with agent Scott Boras because of how the Mark Teixeira signing went down two years ago.

    But it's time to get over that.

    Third baseman Adrian Beltre is the last major bat on the free agent market. The Angels sorely need some offense. Third base would be a position that could use a major upgrade.

    Look for people to start talking long enough to get Beltre signed on the dotted line for the Halos.

4) Rays Sign Bobby Jenks and Manny Ramirez

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    The Tampa Bay Rays are going through a very painful offseason.

    With the loss of Carlos Pena to the Cubs (one year, $10 million) and Crawford to the Red Sox (seven years, $140 million) and the looming departure of closer Rafael Soriano, the Rays face the challenge of trying to still compete in the AL East.

    Crazy as it sounds, it still can be done.

    With a rotation built on Cy Young runner-up David Price, no-hitter and 15-game winner Matt Garza, veteran James Shields and youngsters Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays rotation right now is a legitimate six deep.

    The Rays can use some of that depth to help out a beleaguered bullpen that could have all completely new faces next season.

    Enter Bobby Jenks.

    The Chicago White Sox non-tendered their former closer and are moving in a different direction. Jenks could be available on a much more affordable rate, perhaps even signing a one-year deal like Soriano did, in hopes of rebuilding his value for the 2011 free agent market. Tampa has been a great landing spot to rebound for future markets (see Benoit, Joaquin, and Soriano, Rafael).

    To help an offense losing Pena and Crawford, the Rays should take the risky and bold step of signing Manny Ramirez. Ramirez still is one of the best, if not the best right-handed hitter of this generation, and if Jim Thome still has something left in the tank at age 42, the hope would be that Ramirez, at 38, still can produce.

    Maybe moving him back to the AL East can reignite some of the Manny of old, instead of an old Manny.

3) Minnesota Re-Signs Carl Pavano and Jim Thome

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    Minnesota is going to face a tough challenge of trying to compete and one of these years actually beat New York in the playoffs.

    In order to do that, they have to try to take steps forward, not backwards.

    This is why the Twins need to at least keep last year's team intact by signing Thome and Pavano. Both of those players stepped up and helped the Twins reach the postseason last year. 

    With a healthy Justin Morneau and eventual return of Joe Nathan, the Twins could once again be very dangerous.

2) Texas Trades for Zack Greinke

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    Texas' surge to the postseason and World Series was a fun run to watch. The impact Cliff Lee had on that team was even more fun.

    Texas is going to need that type of ace dominance again this season if it wants to go deep into the playoffs.

    Which is why Zack Greinke will be wearing a Rangers uniform in 2011.

    It will cost a lot to get him, but Greinke at the top of that rotation, along with the very potent Rangers offense, can give any team fits.

    Any time a team can add a former Cy Young winner, you know it's been a good offseason.

1) Cliff Lee Sets Up Next 10 Generations of Family, Signs with Yankees

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    If there was even a smidgen of doubt New York might not get Cliff Lee, it ended when Boston signed Carl Crawford.

    Besides, New York always gets its man.

    The best way for New York to attack this offseason is with the saying, "great pitching always beats good hitting." Adding Lee to CC Sabathia is sorely needed, especially with the rumors that Andy Pettitte might not return in 2011 and instead retire.

    The Yankees need Lee.

    And if the Yankees need Lee, the Yankees will get Lee.