The best lineup -- scoring roughly 5.88 runs per game -- would start with Yook/AG or AG/Yook in the top spots, Ortiz at #4, Salty and LBJ at the bottom, and the other spots picked out of a hat.
Even the worst possible lineup would score 5.51 runs per game. That is a drop of 60 runs per game over a 162-game season, a difference of about six wins. That is significant, but Terry Francona's lineups will not be at either extreme. He'll fiddle around fairly intelligently in the middle. What would be the difference between Tito's best and worst lineup? Maybe two wins over an entire season?
My quickie lineup of
Ellsburywould score approximately 5.77 runs per game.
Dave Cameron, Fangraphs, notes that Crawford is getting "a lot of money for a guy who doesn't do the things that traditionally earn a lot of money":
Just because it is unique, however, doesn't mean it is automatically bad. Defense has historically been undervalued in the market, and while not everyone agrees with the conclusions reached by defensive metrics all the time, I have never met anyone who thinks that Carl Crawford is anything besides a great defensive left fielder. ...Tony Massarotti of the Globe insists, contrary to every single thing the current front office has done and said for the last eight years, the signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford were in response to the panicky cries and complaints of Red Sox fans.
Over the last two years, the only position players with a higher WAR than Crawford are Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Mauer, and Chase Utley. Crawford is ahead of sluggers like Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, and Miguel Cabrera, but as we saw with Gonzalez's extension, that kind of money for their skillset is considered acceptable. Just because Crawford creates wins in a different way doesn't make those wins less valuable. If you buy into Crawford being an elite defender, then he is worth this contract, and maybe even a little bit more.
The Red Sox heard you, loudly and clearly, and they did not like the message. You groused about Liverpool. You groaned about ticket prices. Mostly, you stopped buying and stopped watching, all at a time when the competition for your interest was greater than ever before. ...John Tomase and Scott Lauber, Herald:
[T]he Red Sox needed to throw their weight around again [this winter]. They needed to show that they do not take you for granted.
Last week at this time, we wondered if the Red Sox had a pulse. Now they are terrorizing baseball. ...Two days ago, Sean McAdam reported:
In the slugging Gonzalez and the speedy Crawford, the Red Sox have now completely remade a lineup that overcame injuries to rank second in the American League in runs scored last year. ...
When coupled with the team's presumably deep starting rotation, it's hard to view them as anything other than World Series favorites at the moment.
Francona on Jacoby Ellsbury's health after broken ribs: "A couple of weeks ago, he was still feeling it in his back."Now, Tito says he misspoke and Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, says the outfielder is
doing great. He's been working out. He's taken time. He went through the season where his ribs really never fully healed. He attempted to come back a number of times. Now with the time, he's able to let his bones and fractures [heal].Tom Verducci, SI:
The Red Sox shocked the baseball world ... somehow turn[ing] $142 million into stealth money, agreeing to make Carl Crawford the second-highest paid outfielder in baseball history with hardly a moment of preparation by those outside their own suite. It was a rare "wow" moment in a Twitter-mad world.
"[Bleeping] Theo," one GM said of Boston general manager Theo Epstein. "What a brilliant move."