Crawford to Marlins? Get serious

BOSTON -- Carl Crawford to the Miami Marlins?

Sure, and Condoleezza Rice will be Mitt Romney's running mate this fall.

In both cases, such scenarios were reported, one by the Drudge Report, the other by veteran baseball reporter Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who has a batting average much higher than M. Drudge and traffics in far fewer baseless rumors. And in both cases, folks are reacting.

But neither case passes the smell test (and I say that while acknowledging I'm not qualified to be making political judgments, other than as Joe Ordinary Citizen). Rice has said she has no interest in the office, one of a host of reasons that make her candidacy beyond improbable.

As for Crawford? "Dan Jennings must be in Boston,'' one major league source said Wednesday. Jennings is the Marlins' vice president of player personnel and assistant GM. And yes, Nightengale writes, he was in Boston. "And Jennings loves Carl Crawford,'' the same source said. "But beyond that, doesn't make a lot of sense. Don't think anything is happening there.''

Is it possible, as Nightengale writes, that Jennings broached Crawford's name to the Red Sox? Sure. Teams routinely ask about virtually every player on another club's roster, proceeding from the premise that if a star player did get traded, they'd hate to have to tell their ownership they never even asked about a player's possible availability. I've known Nightengale for 25 years, and he's never been the type to make something out of nothing. The two players the Sox would reportedly be getting back? Hanley Ramirez was held in high regard by Sox baseball operation people when he was here, and Heath Bell was on the Sox list last winter as an option at closer.

And lo and behold, ESPN's Buster Olney cites sources as saying there is no current discussion involving Crawford. "It was brought up briefly as a concept, immediately died,'' Olney says.

On Wednesday before the Red Sox faced the Chicago White Sox at Fenway, Crawford himself cast doubt on the rumors.

“I really haven’t heard too much about it,” Crawford said. “There’s really nothing to say about it. You’ve just got to get ready to play every day and when those things come up you just shrug them off.

“I like playing here so far. I’m doing well and when you’re doing well this is the best place to play,” Crawford said.

But think about it. Crawford says he expects to need Tommy John surgery on his left elbow at some point. The Marlins are going to assume $100 million in contract obligations to damaged goods?

Meanwhile, Ramirez and Bell have both underperformed in Miami, while Mike Aviles has been solid if unspectacular at short, Alfredo Aceves has proven to be a satisfactory closer and closer Andrew Bailey is getting close to coming back.

"We have not offered Carl to a single team," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Nightengale. "We have not pursued anything on Carl Crawford. Carl is our left fielder."

I didn't call Cherington myself. I'll have enough rumors of my own in the coming weeks for him to shoot down.

Joe McDonald contributed to this report.