Carl Crawford is Back, But For How Long?
In case you don’t remember, Carl Crawford is still employed by the Dodgers. You may have forgotten about the long lost left fielder since he hasn’t played in a Dodger uniform since April 27th, but CC is finally on the mend and set to join the Dodgers in Atlanta on Monday afternoon. Crawford has only played in 15 games for the Dodgers this season before landing on the disabled list, also known as CC Land.
Carl Crawford won’t be activated to just sit around. Don Mattingly will be starting the outfielder in order to at least utilize him for as long as possible during his inevitable short healthy spurt. Crawford has been recovering from a major oblique injury which has sidelined him for most of the season, but this certainly wasn’t the only time Crawford has battled injuries in his career. It most likely won’t be his last time either.
I of course don’t want to wish injury on to anyone, not even Angel Pagan. It’s just that Carl Crawford’s track record isn’t the best. The sun rises, and Carl Crawford lands on the D.L. It’s like the cycles of the seasons. The frustrating part is that when Crawford is healthy, he’s really really good.
Molly Knight wrote about Carl Crawford in her Dodgers book The Best Team Money Can Buy:
"“For almost a decade, Carl Crawford was the human embodiment of a tree falling in the woods and making no sound: he was the best baseball player that no one saw.”"
Molly was describing Carl’s amazing tenure in Tampa Ray when he was a four-time All-Star, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner and a stolen base machine. Crawford hasn’t stolen more than 23 bases since 2010 when he was in Tampa Bay, but the Dodgers sure could use some of his speed on the base path in order to shake things up in the lineup which has little to no speed as of right now.
Crawford has had quite a lengthy rehab assignment while recovering from his right oblique strain. He played in 10 games including two with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and 8 with Oklahoma City. He went 12-for-34 (.353) with a homerun, two doubles, two triples, 8 RBI and 9 runs. He played 6 games in left field to tune up his defense.
Don Mattingly has said that Andre Ethier will remain the Dodgers primary starting left fielder even when Crawford returns, and deservedly so, but I would take that with a grain of salt. Even though Crawford can only play left field, there’s no way he will be delegated to riding the pine on a permanent basis.
With Crawford’s return comes a corresponding roster move as well. Even though the obvious choice is to cut loose Alberto Callaspo, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kiké Hernandez is optioned in order to retain as many players as possible.
While Crawford can be one of the most dynamic players in the game when healthy, his constant injuries have put a hamper on his contributions to his team since joining the Dodgers. A healthy Crawford down the stretch would certainly give a boost to the Dodgers, but like a rusty nail he is still sharp yet unreliable.