The Nationals’ signing of free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth might have hurt the Red Sox in two ways.
One, it eliminated any chance of the Sox signing Werth.
Two, the seven-year, $126 million contract might have inflated free agent Carl Crawford’s price beyond their range.
The Sox have had only one $100 million player in their history – Manny Ramirez. The current ownership has never awarded a player that much money.
That will change once the Sox sign the newly acquired Adrian Gonzalez – the parameters for Gonzalez's extension are seven years, $154 million, according to a major league source.
But Crawford, in the wake of the Werth signing, also could move into the $150 million range. He is 29 - two years younger than Werth - and more accomplished.
So, rather than sign Crawford, the Sox could trade for a right-handed hitting outfielder such as the Nationals’ Josh Willingham, or focus more on relievers.
The Sox currently have eight outfielders on their 40-man roster, including J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and Ryan Kalish.
One option that won't be considered, according to a source: Moving Kevin Youkilis to left field to accommodate the return of free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Such a scenario would be plausible if the market for Beltre collapsed and the Sox wanted to sign him at a reduced rate. But the Red Sox are intent on playing Youkilis at third following the addition of Gonzalez.
Beltre’s asking price, according to one source: Five years, $85 million.