In an unsurprising move, the Dodgers have DFA’d another overpaid underperformer.
Carl Crawford was once the best player in the American League. The Dodgers designated him for assignment today, a nice reminder that father time is undefeated.
Crawford was a piece of the trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez to LA. By taking on his horrible contract, the Dodgers were able to acquire a franchise-changing first baseman for two pitching prospects that haven’t done much in the majors.
Crawford was genuinely good for the most part when he was healthy, but that time was too rare. Crawford slashed .283/.329/.407 in his first full year in LA and followed that up with a .300/.339/.429 line in 2014. However, 2015 was unkind to Crawford, as any time he got hot he got hurt. He never got hot in 2016, and was DFA’d.
Defensively, Crawford has always been underwhelming. He has good speed, which should translate to a solid defensive player, but he doesn’t get great jumps or reads and his arm is always tested.
Crawford getting DFA’d is not all that surprising, especially considering the Dodgers cut ties with another bad contract, Alex Guerrero, just the other day. The timing of it is weird, as I assumed this day would come when Andre Ethier was healthy. Ethier is still not close to returning, but with A.J. Ellis struggling and Yasmani Grandal hurt and struggling, they needed an extra catcher, which means it’s Austin Barnes‘ time. Barnes would probably be a starter on a lot of teams and has played second base and third base in the minors, so with Justin Turner‘s struggles he could also get a look there.
This is pretty much exactly how I felt about him. He gets more flack than any Dodger in recent memory, when he single handedly won a playoff game for them in 2013 and put together two very good seasons. He wasn’t hitting this year, but that can be said for half the team.
The Dodgers will still owe Crawford a lot of money. He won’t get picked up on waivers, but will likely be signed as soon as he clears. The Angels and Giants, off the top of my head, seem like solid fits with need for an outfielder and a buy-low candidate. The Dodgers will owe Crawford the remainder of his contract, which is about $34 million according to Bill Plunkett, minus whatever he signs for.
Thus ends the Carl Crawford era. It started well enough, but it was definitely time for this move.