The most surprising story leading up to the trade deadline comes today from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via MLBTradeRumors): The Red Sox are actively shopping Carl Crawford.
The Red Sox, sources said, reached out to both the Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, though another source said that no discussions took place with the Dodgers. The Marlins, historically open to any possibility, would at least consider the concept, sources said.
“There’s nothing going on with Carl,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s our left fielder and we’re glad to have him back in our lineup.”
Rosenthal throws out Hanley Ramirez (whom the Marlins are said to be sour on) or Jose Reyes (I would assume because of duplicate talents and to let Hanley go back to short if Miami isn't actually that sour on Ramirez) as potential candidates, while mentioning that prospects and cash (presumably on the side of Boston) would have to be involved.
Now, I say it's surprising because of the timing. Carl has massively underperformed in his time in Boston. Obviously, his deal looks bad. So unloading it in and of itself is not surprising -- the fact that they might try to do so at his lowest value says something. It would also be surprising because Crawford has been outspoken about how he never got comfortable because no one believed in him in the organization last year; wouldn't this engender the same feelings?
It says that they're really worried about their long-term salary structure. We've seen the minor maneuvering with the Marco Scutaro deal and the Bobby Jenks buyout -- the team is concerned about the luxury tax. Unloading Crawford, even if it takes some up-front cash, could be financially wise long term.
From the baseball side, I'd be very concerned about selling low on him, but if Cherington is able to include him in a deal for an impact player like what Rosenthal mentions, it would have to be considered.
All this said, don't go expecting a deal. Crawford is not likely to net much of a return until he shows a consistent level of play.