Los Angeles Dodgers: Can Carl Crawford Ever Be the Player He Once Was in Tampa?

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIAugust 24, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 12: Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox hits an RBI double to center during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 12, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The potential mega deal between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers is nearly complete, as the Red Sox are awaiting approval from Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford—both of whom have no-trade clauses—tweets Jon Heyman of CBSsports.

Bud Selig must also approve the deal.

The blockbuster between the two teams would have Boston sending Beckett, Crawford, Nick Punto and Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles in exchange for James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus, Jr. (h/t Gordon Edes, ESPN).

While the deal has been agreed upon, there's no guarantees that it will go down at this point. Crawford contains full no-trade protection from three teams, and the Dodgers just so happen to be one of them. Heyman tweeted earlier that:

Crawford has 3 team no-trade list. As luck would have it, #dodgers are 1 of 3. As of few minutes ago he was yet to be asked

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 25, 2012

If Crawford had yet to be asked at that point (9:53 p.m., ET on August 24), then it's likely that a deal could not officially go through until some time Saturday morning.

Regardless, Crawford represents a risky pickup for Los Angeles. He is by no means the centerpiece of this deal—that title goes to Gonzalez—but the fact that the Dodgers will be paying the remainder of his monstrosity of a contract signifies that they are committed to whichever Crawford they are receiving.

Crawford went under the knife for Tommy John surgery very recently, so he'll be out of commission until at least next spring. While he played in just 31 games this season, he showed significant improvement from last season's horrible line of .255/.289/.405.

This season, he put together a semi-respectable line of .282/.306/.471 with three home runs and 19 RBI.

Even projected over a full season, those numbers are a far cry from Crawford's heyday. From 2002 to 2010 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford compiled a line of .296/.337/.444 with 118 home runs, 114 triples, 667 RBI and a whopping 432 stolen bases.

His short tenure in Boston shows that he may be on the decline. We all know that speed is the first thing to go as a player ages, but at age 31, Crawford is not exactly an aged veteran. While he has been in the league since 2002, 31 years old is still relatively young for a player to begin deteriorating.

Maybe the warmer Los Angeles weather will be enough to help Crawford stay healthy, or maybe the change of scenery to the National League West will help to trigger a more productive season. Whatever the case may be, the Dodgers would be taking an extreme risk in bringing him on board.

The new ownership group headlined by Magic Johnson is clearly determined to put a winning product on the field. Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Brandon League all represented significant acquisitions this past July.

This new deal blows all three of those acquisitions out of the water.

Even if Crawford doesn't pan out, the Dodgers will likely make out extremely well on this deal. With a healthy Crawford, however unlikely it may be, the Dodgers could very well establish themselves as the premier team in the National League for at least the next five seasons.

Before we jump the gun, though, let's see how well he recovers from the Tommy John surgery.