Crawford open to deal with Rays

Updated: September 30, 2009, 7:43 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- All-Star MVP Carl Crawford is interested in discussing a new long-term deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays are expected to pick up a $10 million club option for the 2010 season. If Tampa Bay exercises the option, the left fielder would be eligible for free agency after next season.

"In the offseason, I'd be open to whatever they're open to," Crawford said before Wednesday night's game against Baltimore. "They know that. I'm prepared either way."

Crawford likely would limit contract talks to the offseason, and not discuss the matter once next season begins.

"When Opening Day comes, pretty much I just probably want to focus on the season," Crawford said. "I don't think guys are comfortable talking about that kind of stuff during the season. It seems like whenever guys do that, they take the focus off the game and you don't want to do that."

Crawford stole his career-high 60th base on Tuesday, and also became the fifth player in the last two decades to have 60 steals and 60 RBIs in the same season.

"I'd love having him," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Carl has pretty much been the face of the organization for years."

The defending AL champion Rays will miss the playoffs this season. Tampa Bay had its first-ever winning season in 2008.

"I don't think it ever goes back to being as bad as it was," Crawford said. "The organization is definitely headed in the right direction. I'd like to be part of that."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press