After three years and change, the Dodgers have finally called it quits on Carl Crawford, the man they saved Boston from in the fall of 2012. Los Angeles designated the outfielder for assignment Sunday afternoon, even with more than a year still left on his $142 million contract.
He will go down as one of the worst signings in the history of the Red Sox, but if we're being honest here, Crawford wasn't the absolute worst for Los Angeles. Even finishing wih a .185/.230/.235 batting line in 87 plate appearances this season, Crawford still actually managed to hit to a 103 OPS+ in his four seasons in Los Angeles. Even with his dramatically diminished defense and drop in stolen bases from his Tampa Bay days, that was enough to make him worth something to the Dodgers, particularly in 2013 and 2014.
But he was not the $20 million per year player the Red Sox hoped they were getting, and then very glad to be rid of when the Dodgers came offering to take him off their hands. Los Angeles did get Adrian Gonzalez along with him, but Gonzalez himself has generally been worth his own contract, but not really more.
Honestly, by this point, Red Sox fans might well have moved on entirely from the whole thing, particularly since they're no longer footing any of the bill, if Crawford didn't see fit to keep bringing up his disastrous period in Fenway. It seems like every year he's piping up about something or other, finding some way to suggest he wasn't the problem so much as we were. Just this last April, Crawford was chiming in on the Sandoval situation:
"It's extremely hard," he said. "Once you have failure, for some reason people like to see it. When you get that type of money, the expectations become so unrealistic. You don't live up to the expectations, you're doomed."
"It definitely eats at you," he said. "But, as men, we can't whine about stuff like that. We have to be professional. We can't show somebody it bothers us. But, hey, you know, we bleed just like you."
Crawford never really took his own advice on that issue, did he?
Well, there will perhaps be fewer platforms for him now, and those old wounds can finally, if not heal, then at least fade away. He'll always pop up on lists here and there of Boston's biggest missteps, right next to the aforementioned Mr. Sandoval. (It has not been a good five years for big Red Sox free agent signings.) Perhaps he finds his way onto another team on a league minimum contract. Perhaps he just calls it quits. Either way, we can be pretty sure he won't be voluntarily returning to Boston anytime soon. There's just nothing for him in the place he might have called home.