Last winter, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth both hit the free agent market, signed with East division rivals and received lavish seven-year deals securing them enough cash to make like Scrooge McDuck and dive into their own personal swimming pools filled with gold coins. Crawford got $142 million to trek from Tampa Bay to Boston, and Werth left Philly for Washington for a cool $126 million. Crawford’s average draft position in ESPN leagues entering 2011 was fourth overall, and Werth’s ADP was 47. Both were prime picks expected to anchor fantasy lineups.
Unfortunately, both landed in their new digs with a Peter Griffin-like thud. Crawford posted the lowest batting average (.255) and OBP (.289) marks of his career while stealing just 18 bases, nearly 30 bags fewer than he nabbed with the Rays in 2010. Werth hit .232 and slugged .389, popping a disappointing 20 home runs.
Suffice it to say, neither will be drafted as high in 2012. But which is the better bet to bounce back? Let’s take a closer look at pros and cons of each high-price fly catcher.