No Carl Crawford is not a problem

Losing Carl Crawford is a big drop-off in production, but it's not the end of the world for Tampa. Getty Images

Not many clubs can survive the loss of a franchise player in his prime. In the past decade or so, the only notable time it's happened was the 2001 Seattle Mariners winning 116 games despite losing Alex Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers the year before.

When you look at the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays, then, with Carl Crawford now a member of the Boston Red Sox, it seems the run of success for Joe Maddon's squad is about to end.

There's no doubt that Crawford's absence puts the Rays a step behind both the Red Sox and New York Yankees in the AL East, but that doesn't mean we should write off Tampa Bay. Believe it or not, it's because the Rays have a lot of money to spend.