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Red Sox' Crawford still puzzled by Angels' strange courtship

FT. MYERS, Fla. -- A lot of folks expected Carl Crawford to be an Angel this spring and at the very least, he surely he expected the Angels to come after him in free agency a lot harder than they did.

Crawford, a four-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner entering his prime, seemed like a perfect fit for Los Angeles of Anaheim, which sought offense and an outfielder in particular. Angels star Torii Hunter publicly identified Crawford as his personal choice, and everything indicated Hunter's bosses agreed -- word got out that Crawford was the Angels' No. 1 choice.

"They obviously didn't want me that bad because I'm a Red Sox,'' Crawford said. "I don't know what happened.''

Crawford said things became clear "at the end'' of talks which way it was headed. He isn't complaining, as he's also a nice fit for Boston, which gave him a hefty $142 million, seven-year contract.

"Everything's good,'' Crawford said. "This is a good team, they obviously wanted me and the financial situation was good.''

The Angels' offer to Crawford was for $108 million over six years with a seventh year option -- not exactly chump change but also not in the ballpark of what Boston paid. L.A.'s offer was also less per year than it will wind up paying Vernon Wells since the Angels absorbed all but $5 million of the $86 million and four years remaining on his contract when they acquired him from Toronto in a trade. That combination of decisions by the Angels made no sense to anyone, Crawford included.

"It was weird,'' he said. "I heard they said my contract was too much. Then they paid more (per year) to Vernon Wells. I didn't understand that.''

The other thing about the Angels' offer to Crawford that made no sense is that it was a shorter deal than the $126 million, seven-year contract Jayson Werth received from the Nationals only a day before. A case could be made that the Nationals, being the Nationals, had to overpay. But Crawford is two years younger than Werth, and no one could reasonably think they could sign Crawford to a shorter deal than Werth received.

"He's 31 and I'm 29. It didn't make sense to me, either,'' Crawford said in answer to a questioner who suggested it made little sense. "And this is why I'm a Red Sox.''

And that is one of the main reasons why the Red Sox are the American League favorites.

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