2013 Dodgers in Review #16: LF Carl Crawford

90topps_carlcrawford.283/.329/.407 469pa 6hr 15sb .322 wOBA 2.9 fWAR A-

2013 in brief: Not exactly the superstar he was in Tampa, but proved to be a valuable piece of the team.

2014 status: You’ll hear trade rumors all winter, but with $20.25m coming to him next year and $82.5m more still due, he’s not going anywhere but left field for the Dodgers.

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It’s truly difficult to overstate just how big of a question mark Carl Crawford was coming into the season. We’d seen Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, and Josh Beckett over the last month of 2012, but we had no idea what to expect out of Crawford. He’d been terrible in two seasons with Boston, and had undergone Tommy John surgery in the days prior to the trade. No one knew if and when he’d be healthy; when he was, no one had any idea what to expect out of him.

The one thing that I did think I knew was that if he was physically able, there was hope. On March 20, I dug into the changes in his batting stance over the years, figuring that if he was just able to keep his stance closed, there was some reason to think he could contribute — and in the first few days of spring (he didn’t make his debut until March 17), it looked he was doing just that:

It’s a pretty stark difference, as pitchers routinely pitched Crawford away and he was completely unable to do anything about it. In 2012, as he went back to his older, more open stance, there was hope; while he was completely impatient, leading to a lousy .305 OBP, his .197 ISO and .479 SLG (in limited playing time, of course), ranked among the better numbers of his career.

It’s overly simplistic to simply attribute Crawford’s struggles to his stance, because there was obviously a lot more going on there — things like injuries, an uncomfortable fit in Boston, a contract that was widely seen as an overpay even at the time it was signed. He might not stay healthy in Los Angeles, and his best days might be — hell, probably are — behind him. But if we’re looking for any reasons for optimism, and any indication that giving Crawford a chance to prove himself while sending Puig out is the right thing, seeing him get back to the closed stance and upright bat that gave him so much success in Tampa Bay looks like a really good start.

Crawford not only made it back for Opening Day, he kicked in a double among two hits. In fact, he was so good — in his first seven starts, he had multiple hits six times — that it took only until April 8 until we were fawning all over him, joking that “Ned Colletti was looking really good for agreeing to eat all of that Adrian Gonzalez money in order to acquire Carl Crawford from the Red Sox last August.”

He showed some power too, hitting four homers in April (including two on the 28th) and by the end of the month he was hitting .308/.388/.516. It was stunning not just because of what he’d done only a month after we weren’t sure when he’d even play, but because you might remember that in a world without Yasiel Puig or Hanley Ramirez or a healthy Matt Kemp, when we were still watching Luis Cruz every day, Crawford’s contributions looked all the more impressive.

It didn’t quite last, of course, as the nagging injuries popped up. Crawford missed the first few days of May with a sore right hamstring, then hurt the left one on June 1 in Colorado (of course) and sat out more than a month. When he returned, he was down (.225/.257/.268 in July), up (.302/.353/.387 in August), and down again in September (.267/.286/.413) as he struggled off and on with a sore back.

Of course, you may remember that his postseason included not one, or two, or three, but four homers in just ten games. In 116 games on the season, he was worth three wins, and if you accept he’s a lesser version of what he used to be — good defense, but not elite; some steals, but also not elite  – and try not to think about the contract too hard while enjoying that the Dodgers finally have a reasonable leadoff option, you should be nothing but thrilled at the season he provided.

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Next! Scott Van Slyke lives!

983 comments
KMT59
KMT59

wow that was a quiet night compared to the night before...caught up real fast

DodgersFan
DodgersFan

Spike Jonze films always seem like they're trying too hard.

TaintsnifferMcGillicutty
TaintsnifferMcGillicutty

IDK who this Adam Levine guy is but he has some sweet jeans at Kmart.............

Later gotta go fap to the Asian chick from Pacific Rim

KMT59
KMT59

Now that I caught up...after 2 doctors appointments today...time for bed

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

About 116 miles from Vegas, the Pandora commercials started setting in

KMT59
KMT59

IT TOOK ME FOREVER TO CATCH UP TODAY!!!

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

Moneyball satiated my baseball needs for the night. And this rum fulfilled my appetite.

Now to lol at funnies on the internets

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

is that picture of Bob in a dress real?

Lobo
Lobo

So Thor 2 was really good.  Definitely an improvement on the first one.  I'd say overall, my preference of Marvel movies goes something like this (from worst to best): The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2, Thor 2, Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@Lobo where does pacific rim rate compared to the films though?

Jobu
Jobu

Yes yes TANAKA,

Lobo
Lobo

@capnsparrow @Lobo I'd say Pacific Rim is as good as Captain America but not quite as good as Iron Man

Lobo
Lobo

@Disgruntled Goat @Lobo I actually still haven't gotten around to seeing it.  Not sure why, just haven't.  I think I'll move it to the top of my Netflix Queue now

Lobo
Lobo

@Disgruntled Goat @Lobo I rank it above Incredible Hulk purely because of Robert Downey Jr.  That and while Whiplash may not have been a particularly good villain, he WAS played by Mickey Rourke and he was DEFINITELY better than the Abomination in TIH