Carl Crawford: 5 Things $142 Million Can't Buy the Red Sox Outfielder

Jamal Wilburg@JWilburgCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2011

Carl Crawford: 5 Things $142 Million Can't Buy the Red Sox Outfielder

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    Carl Crawford is learning that the $142 million the Boston Red Sox paid him can’t buy everything.

    No matter how much money his contract paid him, it cannot console the pain of dropping the ball that ended the Red Sox season and helped propel his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays, into the playoffs.

    It wasn't supposed to happen like this for Crawford. You're not supposed to leave a team that slashed its payroll to join a team with an almost blank check and fail.

    That's why the games are played. 162 games later and it's the improbable Rays making the postseason and the overpaid Crawford left to answer the questions of failure with his teammates.

    Here are 5 things Crawford probably wishes his money could buy.

World Series Ring

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    Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox to win championships. If the Tampa Bay Rays improbable season ends with them winning the World Series, he will surely wish he could trade in all of his money for the chance to be a world champion.

Clutch Performance

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    Carl Crawford was the definition of a clutch performer when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays. As a member of the Boston Red Sox his world has been flipped upside down.

    To whom much is given, much is expected.

    When you sign a $142 million contract you HAVE to catch that ball. Red Sox fans don't want to hear about how difficult it was or any other excuse.

    Crawford chose to sign with Boston and take the money, which I don't blame him for by any means. However, he has to understand the expectations of clutch performance that come with that salary.

    When those expectations aren't met, there is no amount of money that can buy your way out of it.

Terry Francona and Theo Epstein's Jobs

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    When the Boston Red Sox fail to live up to expectations the rumor mill starts.

    Right now in the immediate aftermath of another disappointing season the focus of attention is on whether or not Terry Francona and Theo Epstein should be retained by the team.

    The team has opened its pocketbook and paid top dollar to bring in players like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. When those players don't produce, it falls on the shoulders of the people who brought them in and were responsible for the success and failure of the team.

    Sure, they can't swing a bat, steal a base, or play in the field. However, someone has to be held accountable for the team's failure. Even though they won 90 games, not making the playoffs is failure for a team with the expectations such as the Red Sox.

Protection from Boston Media

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    Boston isn't Tampa.

    The reaction to Carl Crawford's missed catch will be drastically different now that he plays for the Boston Red Sox than what it would have been as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

    In Tampa, the miss would have been upsetting but he would quickly have been forgiven as he was one of the fan favorites. The apologists would outnumber the critics.

    In Boston, it is a different world. There are no moral victories for sports cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Winning is what matters and when you fail to win be prepared for the media storm that is coming your way.

    Especially, when you were the big-name, top dollar addition that was supposed to put the team over the top.

    Crawford is a mostly quiet guy that doesn't seek the spotlight or attention to himself and fit in perfectly to the culture surrounding Tampa Bay.

    Now, along with Papelbon, he will be the poster child for the biggest collapse in baseball regular season history.

A Reset Button

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    There is one question I would love to ask Carl Crawford although I doubt a truthful answer would come out.

    Would he rather be on the Boston Red Sox today or be on the Tampa Bay Rays celebrating their third trip to the postseason in four years.

    It's a serious question, he started with the organization from its lowest and most humbling beginnings and was a key component to their rise to where they are now.

    I can't help but wonder if he would trade in his contract for a chance to still be playing baseball in October.

    Carl Crawford is learning that the money the Boston Red Sox paid him can’t buy everything.

    Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

    Follow his thoughts, insights, and ramblings on Twitter @JWilburg


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