Boston Red Sox: Carl Crawford & Adrian Gonzalez Make Sox Best in the AL East

Steven BaldassariContributor IIIMarch 21, 2011

At the end of the 2009 season, Red Sox Fans were becoming increasingly frustrated with the product being put on the field by the teams front office. As a result, local ratings for its televised ballgames were off roughly 14 percent through May 21, 2009.

Read more: Red Sox TV viewership off 14 percent | Boston Business Journal

No disrespect to Boston's finest, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkillis, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury...but the fans simply did not feel that the overall product being presented to them correlated to the ticket prices they had to pay (the highest in all of baseball). Simply put the Sox didn't have enough bang for your buck. People were not confident that their team had what it took to win.

Despite the Red Sox front office having knowledge of this information, the only significant moves that the Red Sox made were to sign John Lackey and Marco Scutaro after the 2009 season.. Lackey was signed to a contract worth $82.5 million over five years. Scutaro received a $1 million signing bonus and a $5 million salary in 2010 and 2011. The third year carries options of $6 million (team) and $3 million (Scutaro/player), with a buyout of $1.5 million.

For those who are true fans and/or have played the game, you know that neither of these players are exactly superstars. However, the Sox had high hopes and expectations for Scutaro and Lackey and felt they were worth the money they paid them and felt strongly that they could help the Red Sox return to greatness in 2010.

In hindsight, the Bo-Sox missed the playoffs in 2010 and neither of these two players should have been signed. Both players are overrated and overpaid. If the Red Sox did feel it was best for the organization to sign them, it should have been at much lower annual salaries.

2010's off-season was different. This off-season the Boston Red Sox were very busy and rightfully so. Their front office recognized the diminished interest on local television network NESN and general unhappiness discussed earlier and so, they decided to make some moves. The Red Sox signed All-Star veteran Carl Crawford (formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays) to a seven-year , $142 million contract. They also traded minor league prospects P Casey Kelly, 1B Anthony Rizzo and OF Raymond Fuentes for Adrian Gonzalez (formerly of the San Diego Padres).

These additions were highly publicized and gave "Red Sox Nation" a sense of renewed interest in their club. Some would call this being a "fair weather" fan but when a nation is in a recession and people are being charge the highest ticket prices in baseball, then you expect to always be presented with the best and will settle for nothing less.

The best is exactly what the fans wanted and exactly what they received. New speedy Boston left fielder, Carl Crawford and the always reliable, defensive/offensive machine, Adrian Gonzalez are two of the most talented players in baseball today.

Here is a quick look at what each player accomplished last year (2010) and in their respected careers

CARL CRAWFORD (since 2002)

SEASONABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVGOBPOPS
2010600110184301319904610447.307.356.851
Career Total49927651480215105104592293768409.296.337.781

Carl Crawford has tremendous speed, solid outfield play and a great bat, and it seems like the only thing he can't do is fly.

 

ADRIAN GONZALEZ (since 2004)

SEASONABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBAVGOBPOPS
20105918717633031101931140.298.393.904
Career Total316748890018681685254156611.284.368.875

Adrian Gonzalez is not quite as mobile but has more pop with his bat and is probably an even better defender at his position (1B) than Crawford is at his (LF). Gonzalez does not have much if any speed but he has a detailed goatee which gives him some extra brownie points.

Gonzo's goatee aside and being completely serious, it is very hard to say who is the better player. Each guy brings so much to the table for this years Red Sox squad. It will be interesting to see Crawford and Gonzalez playing on the same team. They should fuel each other's game and will likely have career years in 2011.

If one player had to be chosen at this point in time I would choose Crawford as the better of the two. Only when 2011 is all said and done can Sox fans truly be sure of the answer to the question of who is the better baseball player, Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez. At that time they would have gotten to see them play a full season. Although we cannot be certain of which player is better now, there is one thing we can be sure of. It is an exciting time to be a Boston Red Sox fan.