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Angels must ponder how Jayson Werth's signing affects Carl Crawford's worth

December 5, 2010 |  9:56 pm

The winter meetings don't officially begin until Monday, but the lobby in the Walt Disney Dolphin Resort was already abuzz Sunday night with news of free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126-million deal with the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox's on-again, off-again, on-again acquisition of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres.

Most baseball managers, scouts and front-office executives were stunned at the sheer size of the Werth contract and predicted it would send the price of Carl Crawford, the top position player on the market and the Angels' top winter target, soaring.

Crawford is seeking a contract of up to eight years in length, and many felt something in the range of about $17 million a year, or $136 million over eight years, would be enough to sign the dynamic Tampa Bay left fielder.

But after the Werth signing, there is speculation that Crawford, 29, might now be seeking something closer to $180 million over eight years, which is what first baseman Mark Teixeira got from the New York Yankees two winters ago.

The Angels offered Teixeira, who played the final two months of the 2008 season in Anaheim after his trade from Atlanta, eight years and $160 million and were unwilling to go up to $180 million.

Will the Angels have the stomach to go into that kind of financial stratosphere with Crawford? With many expecting the Red Sox to remain in the hunt for Crawford, despite their acquisition of Gonzalez, the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers in the mix and the Yankees lurking, they may have no choice.

--Mike DiGiovanna in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.