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Monday March 1, 2010 10:47 pm

Crawford, Rays don’t reach deal on contract extension




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB,

Carl CrawfordThe Tampa Bay Rays were unable to reach an agreement for a contract extension with starting left fielder Carl Crawford last week, and the two sides have decided to hold off on further discussions until after the season. While this decision probably doesn’t make Rays fans happy about the future of their star outfielder, Crawford is certainly within his rights to not want to create a distraction for himself or his team for the upcoming 2010 season.

This doesn’t at all mean that Crawford is not interested in staying with Tampa Bay. It just means that for the time being, he wants to put his performance ahead of his contract, and not let money get in the way of his or his teammates’ ability to succeed. 2009 was a tough year for the Rays, considering the breakout-year they had in 2008, and if they want to compete again this season, they’ll need everybody fully dedicated to the game on the field.

A career Ray, Crawford has played in 143 or more games in six of his eight seasons. He has a career batting average of .295, and with 1,296, he is averaging well more than a hit per game. He is perhaps best known for his speed and his defense. He has stolen 362 bases in his career, including a single-season best 60 last year. His range factor also put him at the top of the list among starting left fielders.

While nothing is indicating that Crawford wants out of Tampa Bay, don’t be surprised if this does end up being his final season. He’s in the prime of his career, and could demand prime numbers on a contract if he and the Rays can’t reach a deal. The two parties have indicated that they will table discussions until season’s end, but more likely they’ll keep negotiations private. If the Rays are not in a realistic playoff position by the trade deadline, Crawford may be shopped around if the club has reason to believe Crawford will walk away. Until then, everybody should let the man do his thing.

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