Rob Neyer goes beyond the usual complaints about the economics of professional sports (emphasis added):
As much as it might hurt, if the Rays aren’t going to re-sign [Carl] Crawford, they should probably trade him. Yes, they would probably take a short-term hit in the standings, because a) there are no obvious holes in the lineup that might be filled with a trade, and b) neither Matt Joyce nor prospect Desmond Jennings are ready to replace Crawford’s production (and it’s not likely that either of them ever will quite do that). But between the prospects that would come in a trade and the money that would be saved on Crawford’s salary in 2010, a deal would give the front office a great deal of flexibility down the road.
It’s a shame that things like this have to happen. In a perfect world, Carl Crawford could spend 20 years with the same club, like George Brett and Robin Yount and Tony Gwynn. But you and me and the players and Major League Baseball have all conspired, however unwittingly, to make such a thing almost impossible. Carl Crawford is just too good, and there are just too many dollars floating around out there. My dollars, and your dollars.
Fortunately for the Rays, they’re talented enough and smart enough to win almost as easily without Crawford as with him. Just wait and see.