Big League Stew - MLB

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox are flashing the cash at baseball's winter meetings.

Shortly after promising a rich contract extension to Adrian Gonzalez(notes), the Red Sox landed free agent Carl Crawford(notes) with a $142 million contract for seven years in a late-night stunner. Among outfielders, only Manny Ramirez(notes) was paid more overall ($160 million, from 2001-2008) or per season ($22.5 million, from 2009-2010).

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reported it first.

And where will the dominoes fall from here? The Los Angeles Angels missed out on their top target, for one. And with the lefty-swinging Crawford headed to Fenway Park, the New York Yankees surely will increase their reported offer — in money and years — to left-hander Cliff Lee(notes).

It's nothing Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't already know.

From the Twitter feed of Jack Curry:

Cashman on Red Sox: "They have made some serious improvements. They are going to make it tough on us."

But Crawford and Gonzalez? Regardless of how the Yankees react, what an offseason for general manager Theo Epstein and the Red Sox.

Crawford, 29, finished 2010 with a career-best .851 OPS for the Tampa Bay Rays. Though he's known for his speed (he already has 409 career stolen bases), Crawford slugged .495 in '10 on the strength of a career-high 19 home runs, 30 doubles and a league-leading 13 triples.

He was a free agent at the right moment in history.

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