BOSTON (CBS) – One of the faces of the Red Sox collapse was outfielder Carl Crawford, who had a down season in the first year of his 7-year, $142 million contract.
Red Sox ownership has been accused of signing Crawford, who previously spent nine seasons with the rival Tampa Bay Rays, to increase the team’s TV ratings and not necessarily the product on the field.
Principal owner John Henry, who made a surprise appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz on Friday, said it was “definitely a baseball signing,” but not necessarily one he agreed with.
“In fact, anyone involved in the process, anybody involved in upper management with the Red Sox would tell you that I personally opposed that,” said Henry. “Why? Because we had plenty of left-handed hitting. I don’t have to go into why. I’ll just tell you that at the time, I opposed the deal.”
Despite the fact he opposed signing Crawford to such a large contract, Henry did not want to interfere in the decision-making process.
“I don’t mettle to the point of making decisions for our baseball people. This was driven, and Theo will tell you this, this was driven by our baseball people,” said Henry. “It wasn’t a PR move.”
John Henry on Carl Crawford
Henry cited the team’s disappointing 2010 season, which saw the Red Sox finish 89-73 and with a rash of injuries to several star players. The team’s TV ratings also fell with the Red Sox out of contention, but Henry said that did not factor into the offseason acquisitions of Crawford or first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
“I was more concerned that we didn’t make the playoffs than what the TV ratings were. So, we felt we needed to be aggressive in the offseason, and we were aggressive,” said Henry.
Crawford hit just .255 with 11 HRs and 56 RBI over 130 games in his first season with the Red Sox. He is signed through the 2017 season.