It "only" took a seven-year, $142 million contract for the Boston Red Sox to lure Carl Crawford to Beantown. It certainly seems that this move, along with the flurry of others that have yet to come, will make the Sox clear front-runners in the AL East.
But maybe Crawford wasn't the best signing for the Sox to make. After all, they just traded for Adrian Gonzalez, and unless GM Theo Epstein makes any more swings, their 2011 lineup is looking awfully left-handed.
Right now, their prospective lineup looks a little like this:
CF-Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
2B-Dustin Pedroia (R)
LF-Carl Crawford (L)
3B-Kevin Youkilis (R)
1B -Adrian Gonzalez (L)
DH-David Ortiz (L)
C-Jason Varitek (S)
RF-J.D. Drew (L)
SS-Marco Scutaro (R)
Normally, I would suggest putting Gonzalez in the clean-up role, and Drew batting before Varitek. But that would make several back-to-back left-handed batter scenarios, and that is typically a bad baseball move.
In a division that includes the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays, and their respective southpaw aces C.C. Sabathia and David Price, it seems unwise to field so many left-handers in one lineup.
Of course, it was reported that the team was hot after right-handed hitting Jayson Werth before he signed a slightly cheaper contract with the Washington Nationals (seven years, $126 million). Had they been able to sign him, Drew could have slid over to left field with Werth manning right.
There are benefits, of course, that Crawford brings that just can't be ignored. He's batted .300 or better five of the last six seasons, and has stolen at least 50 bases five times in his career with the Tampa Bay Rays. He's a solid left fielder that should be able tame the Green Monster at Fenway Park with ease.
But unless they are able to trade away Ellsbury or Drew, the lineup might be tilted a little too far to the left. With the Yankees keeping their lineup balanced, it should be another familiar dogfight in the East between the Sox and Bombers in 2011.