By Art Martone
The team most affected by the Red Sox' signing of Carl Crawford took the news -- publicly, at least -- in stride.
"Good move," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. "Good player. Great player."
Not so the team that thought Crawford would be playing left field for them in 2011 and beyond.
"I'm crushed, man," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, who had been recruiting Crawford for the Halos, told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm sitting here in a daze right now, like, what the heck just happened?"
Here's what happened, Torii: The Red Sox -- thought to be out of the Carl Crawford market once they acquired Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres -- swooped in and signed the ex-Tampa Bay left fielder to a deal believed to be seven years at 142 million. General manager Theo Epstein hinted something might be up during his nightly meeting with the Boston media, saying "anything was possible" even though his expectation was that nothing would happen.
Most everyone thought "anything" would be, shall we say, less dramatic. The bullpen. Another catcher. Maybe a right-handed hitting outfielder.
Instead, they landed a player who gives them, arguably, the most fearsome lineup in baseball. A player who, until the news broke at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, was thought to be ticketed to either the Angels (who desperately wanted him) or the Yankees (where he was regarded, at least by the fans and media, as a Plan B fallback if they don't sign Cliff Lee).
"I don't think anyone can argue with the two players they've brought in so far," Rocco Baldelli of the Rays, who played for the Red Sox in 2009, told the Providence Journal. "What else could you possibly do to improve a team?"
Still, the moves didn't blindside the Yankees.
"No," Cashman responded when asked if he was surprised. "Boston has the money, and they had a need."
Art Martone can be reached at email@example.com.