My son Ben had a good reply to my initial baseball statistics post, but there is more to be said. Boswell's column is certainly part of it. The corrective I would add to Boswell is that the short left field, while it inhibits what Crawford can do for you catching the ball, also disguises his below-average throwing. Perhaps Carl can play shallow and channel his speed left to right, shutting down more space. Perhaps he will develop mastery of The Green Monster. Perhaps.
I was prepared to concede Ben's point about Martinez, as I had simply forgotten about his poor percentage of base-stealers thrown out. It was indeed maddening to watch at times last year. But...Martinez had 27 out of 126 caught stealing. So 99-(27x2.6) = 29 bases, which equals 2.9 runs for the season. Call it 3 runs. Not so much. It is indeed discouraging while it is happening, but like base-stealing itself, there's more drama than effect.
It does bring up the issue whether pitchers did worse when Martinez was catching. Nope. They had an ERA slightly over 4 with Martinez, and slightly over 4 with Varitek. Martinez's numbers were improved by Buchholz, but he also caught a lot of games by Beckett, which dragged him down (and he caught him much better than Varitek). At least publicly, the other pitchers have had praise for him as well. If there was a pitcher's conspiracy to get him out because he was screwing them up, it's well hidden. Not that he couldn't be screwing them up and they not realise it, but that becomes a less likely possibility.
I think it is fair to also concede that even if Martinez's catching days are not over, they are at least numbered. He is a DH, and perhaps a declining one, so mixing him in with Ortiz, backup catching, and whatever-you-got for a year means he's a year older when he becomes your full-time DH, and he's likely insulted to boot. Still, OPS of .844 to Crawford's .851. Essentially the same at half the price. And that's not even figuring in Jason Bay, who is the real comparison to Crawford. Martinez was an extra. And the Yankees are also pursuing Russell Martin.
Fans and GM's like to have good players locked in for multiyear deals. It means fewer problems to solve each year and builds fan loyalty. But "locked in" has two meanings. Things change.
As I said, I generally like what we've got - plus rumors of Ordonez and Beltran, and relievers Downs and Fuentes. It's a good team and it should do well if healthy. But an injury here or there, or Bay bouncing back from his injuries would only highlight what could have been if they had decided to spend that kind of money a year ago.