Crawford would like to stay long term
Outfielder hopes to stick with Rays as team starts winning
BALTIMORE -- A day after the Rays exercised Carl Crawford's option for the 2009 season, the Rays left-fielder told reporters "most definitely I'd like to stay here with the Rays."
"It's the only organization I know," said Crawford when asked if he would like to be with the team long term. "I don't know anything different. It would be nice."
Crawford, 26, signed a four-year deal worth $15.25 million prior to the start of the 2005 season that included team options for 2009 and 2010. The 2009 option that the Rays exercised for the two-time American League All-Star is worth $8.25 million; the buyout would have been $2.5 million. The option for the 2010 season is for $10 million, with a $1.5 million buyout.
"To me, I'm still a long ways away [from signing another contract] in my mind," Crawford said. "I've got this year, next year, and the year after that they have another option. I really wasn't thinking about an extension because in my mind it's so far away. I've just never thought about it. I just can't imagine seeing myself anywhere else, though."
Crawford said he would not have changed anything about the original long-term deal he signed, which was the first of its kind by the new ownership group headed by Stuart Sternberg.
"That first contract took care of me and my family the rest of our lives," Crawford said. "So I'll be living off that stuff for the rest of my life. I'll never argue about that. That situation just put me in a position where I'm at now, so I can be at ease."
Crawford said he would "want to listen" if the Rays approached him about a long-term deal.
"Everybody's getting extended these days it seems like, so I'd listen," Crawford said.
Crawford is beginning his seventh season in the Major Leagues, and is the longest-tenured Rays player in club history. During that period he has seen a lot of losing, so he would like to be a part of the team when they start winning.
"I hate to leave right when the gettin' is good," Crawford said. "You've been around for all the bad stuff -- stick around for the good part, too. Looks like the good part is coming ahead, definitely want to be a part of that. I hate to be out right when the team starts to win a bunch of games."
He has a .296 career average with 62 home runs, 378 RBIs and 278 stolen bases. He hit .315 with 11 home runs, 80 RBIs and an American League-tying 50 stolen bases in 2007.
Crawford now has four 50-steal seasons and four AL stolen base crowns in his career. The lifetime .296 hitter is the Rays' all-time leader in hits (991), at-bats (3,348), runs scored (491), stolen bases (278) and triples (74). Since 2003, he leads the Majors with 68 triples, and ranks second behind only Juan Pierre (289) with 269 stolen bases.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.