Carl Crawford and his $140 million contract will be moving from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and—unfortunately for L.A.—his best days are in the past.
The injury-riddled and underwhelming outfielder has been included in a massive blockbuster deal between the Red Sox and Dodgers, joining Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett on the trip out west. As noted by Major League Baseball:
Crawford established himself as one of baseball’s premier outfielders with the Tampa Bay Rays. He batted over .300 in five of six seasons from 2005-2010 and recorded over 180 hits in all five of those campaigns. The only year he fell short of these marks was in 2008, when he missed time due injury.
He wreaked havoc on the base path, racking up 432 career stolen bases. He has led the league in steals four times to go along with four All-Star appearances, a Golden Glove award and an All-Star Game MVP.
That was the player the Rays knew. The Red Sox became familiar with a completely different version of Crawford.
Crawford paraded into Boston along with Gonzalez. He signed a seven-year, $142 million deal prior to the 2011 season, then played in 130 games and managed to hit just .255 during the season.
His poor production was reportedly due to a wrist injury that he had surgery for this offseason. This caused him to miss time at the beginning of the season, and after playing just 30 games in 2012, he has undergone season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Crawford is 31 years old now and is coming off two seasons in which he has struggled due to injury. He is not a young player anymore, and his injuries and age are not encouraging signs for a player whose best quality is his speed.
The Dodgers have now saddled their payroll with $101.5 million over the next five years for Crawford, as noted by ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Crawford certainly could produce better than he did in 2011, but this is an alarmingly risky bet at the price they're paying him.
Crawford missed out on two years of what should have been his prime due to an unlucky string of injuries. His risk of getting injured again will only grow as he gets older, and like any player, his production will continue drop as he logs more and more games. While this is happening, the Dodgers will still have to keep forking over huge sums of money.
Los Angeles is bringing in big names for a push towards the World Series. Unfortunately, Crawford will not factor into those plans this season or in the future.