- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was standing in the hotel lobby here when news broke of Carl Crawford agreeing to a long-term contract with Cashman's rival Boston Red Sox.
Unlike the rest of the baseball world, Cashman said he wasn't surprised the Red Sox landed Crawford.
"Great move. Great player," Cashman said. "'Boston's got the money and they had a need."
Cashman said he did not make Crawford an offer.
If there's anyone who knows how well Crawford will fit into the Red Sox lineup, it's Rocco Baldelli.
The Red Sox and Crawford agreed to a seven-year deal worth $142 million Wednesday, a source confirmed to ESPNBoston.com. Baldelli and Crawford are two of the most popular Tampa Bay Rays players in franchise history. They came up through the system together and were teammates for their entire big league careers until Baldelli, a Rhode Island native, signed with the Sox in 2009. Baldelli played only one season with the Red Sox before returning to the Rays' organization last season.
When Baldelli heard the news his former teammate landed in Boston, he knew it would be a good fit for both parties.
"First of all, I'm sure he's really pleased," Baldelli said. "I'm sure he's happy to be with a team that has a history like the Red Sox do and will have a chance to win every year, because I know how much Carl enjoyed being in a winning environment as opposed to what he played with earlier in his career. I'm sure he's pleased with the compensation, too.
"They're going to get one of the best defensive left fielders that I've ever seen in baseball. He's one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. They're going to get a guy who is an exciting player, probably as exciting as a player as there is."
He doesn't think Crawford will have any trouble adjusting to the heightened atmosphere of Boston.
"I think it'll work out just fine for him," Baldelli said. "He'll adapt pretty easily because he focuses on what he has to do and he's a hard worker. He's not going to let anything get in his way of being successful.
"Behind the scenes, they're going to get one of the hardest working ballplayers in the league. There's nobody out there that's going to give himself a better chance to succeed than Carl is.
"He's going to be active and he's going to make things exciting. People are going to appreciate everything he does."
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.
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