Rays Pick Up Crawford's Pricey Option
Tampa Bay made it official Monday by picking up its $10 million option on the speedy left fielder, who is the longest tenured player in franchise history and holds a number of all-time clubs records, including for hits, stolen bases, RBI and games played.
Crawford bounced back from an injury-marred 2008 to hit .305 with 15 home runs and 60 stolen bases this season. He also won MVP of the All-Star Game this year.
There's little doubt that the 28-year-old Crawford is deserving of a rich payday. Still, $10 million is a sizable chunk of salary for the Rays. The club hasn't had a total payroll in excess of $65 million this decade, and with Crawford taking up such a significant portion of that, they can't afford a down season from him.
Either way, they've clearly made him a priority.
It has been widely speculated that one of the reasons Tampa Bay dealt Scott Kazmir to the Angels this August was to save money for Crawford in 2010 and beyond.
The Rays also declined 2010 options on left-handed reliever Brian Shouse and backup catcher Gregg Zaun.