Part One: Determine the market for top free agent outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.

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Part One: Determine the market for top free agent outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.

1) Determine the market for top free agent outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.

Since midseason, these two names have been inexorably linked to the Red Sox. Crawford offers speed, defense and athleticism while Werth would provide the Sox, increasingly lefthanded, with some righthanded sock.

But the Sox will have no shortage of competition for both. After two seasons in which spending has been down across the board, the expectation is that teams are ready to splurge again.

"When it's all said and done,'' said one baseball executive, "I think people are going to be shocked at how much both (Werth and Crawford) get. It's going to be insane.''

Another executive estimated that while Crawford (right) should get a six-year deal, he'll likely end up with a seven-year pact. As for Werth, the same executive said a four-year deal would make the most sense, but thanks to the sheer number of teams interested, he'll likely land a five-year deal.

Crawford has been linked to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. Werth is expected to receive interest from his current team, the Philadelphia Phillies as well as others.

If Crawford is going to get a seven-year, 120 million deal, as some expect, will the Red Sox consider that illogical? Ditto for Werth (left), for whom a Jason Bay deal (four-years, 66 million) once seemed likely, but now might be able to command a five-year, 80 million or more.

It's worth noting that since becoming general manager, Epstein has only given one deal longer than four years to a position player -- J.D. Drew's, five-year, 70 million contract after the 2006 season.

(It's also worth noting that that contract came after the last time the Sox failed to make the playoffs -- as they did this season).

The Sox have plenty of money to spend. With about 120 million in contractual obligations, they're some 45 million shy of last year's payroll figure. But it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the Sox sat on most of that money and instead budgeted it for in-season acquisitions (see 2009 -- Victor Martinez, Billy Wagner, Alex Gonzalez) or held onto the money with an eye toward next winter when a number of franchise sluggers (Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols) hit the free-agent market.

Next: See what sort of interest exists for Daisuke Matsuzaka

Saturday, Dec. 3: Vesey couldn't be happier with Rangers

Saturday, Dec. 3: Vesey couldn't be happier with Rangers

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking to avoid any and all updates on Kanye West. I’ve officially maxed out on my Kanye updates for the next four or five years. 

*Jimmy Vesey left a trail of broken hearts and hard feelings across the NHL this summer, but he’s happy in New York with the Rangers. 

*There is still a pathway for the NHL players to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, says FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston, but I’m pretty skeptical about it and have been for a few years now. I just don’t see it happening in South Korea. 

*The New York Islanders are reportedly looking for a big name executive to take over their entire hockey operation. 

*Speaking of the Islanders, Alain Vigneault is using them as an example of parity in the NHL to motivate the Rangers.

*A big blow for the Detroit Red Wings as they’ve lost gritty forward Justin Abdelkader for the next few weeks. 

*Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion is looking to add depth to their roster as the Sens appear in it to at least get a playoff spot this year. That is bad news for anybody that likes to watch, you know, entertaining hockey and stuff. 

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford says that the Colorado Avalanche core group has come under heavy scrutiny as they’re struggling again this season. 

*For something completely different: Saving the bees is a year-round job that everybody should be interested in based on their impact across the world. 

Beleskey knocked out of Bruins game with lower body injury

Beleskey knocked out of Bruins game with lower body injury

The Bruins have added another injury to their current collection of banged-up players. 

This time it’s scrappy left winger Matt Beleskey, who was knocked out of Saturday’s game in Buffalo in the first period with a check thrown at his lower body. Beleskey was hit with a body check targeting his right leg at center ice from Buffalo forward Tyler Fedun, and skated gingerly to the bench before eventually heading back to the dressing room. 

There was no penalty called on a borderline hit that seemed to be targeting Beleskey’s leg. The Bruins announced in the middle of the second period that he was done for the day with a lower body injury. Beleskey finished the day with three registered hits and was 1-for-2 in the faceoff circle with six shifts for 5:27 of ice time in the second period. 

The 28-year-old Beleskey had managed to stay pretty healthy this season to this point, but was underachieving a bit offensively with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 23 games this season.