What if Carl Crawford is 100%?

Close your eyes, count to ten.. pretend you’re in Tampa, Florida. It’s warm and muggy, except not around you because you’re in Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. You’re really excited because you get to see a great and competitive baseball game. Now tell me what you think of when you hear these two words: Carl Crawford.

If this is the year 2010, it’s simple. You hear Carl Crawford and say “one of the best in the game”. If it’s 2011, you might use “overrated”, “over paid”, “what a bum!”, or even “OMFG!!! Why didn’t they sign Jayson Werth?! He hits homers!”.

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 11:  Theo Epstein (L), g...

Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

Listen, Carl Crawford was absolutely terrible in 2011. Red Sox fans have a reason to be pissed and to be resentful about the signing. But I will remind you again, that decisions to sign free agent players are not based on results. They are based on the information you had at the time to make your decision. At the time the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford, there was plenty of information and reason to sign him. The dollar figure is huge, but that’s the type of money you pay for a player who produces on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense.

People, Carl Crawford posted a 7.6 Wins Above Replacement figure in 2010. Do you know who was better than him in 2010? Fangraphs WAR states that only Josh Hamilton and Evan Longoria posted higher values in the 2010 season than Carl Crawford. Carl Crawford was more valuable than Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, and Carlos Gonzalez in 2010. Yeah, he was THAT good.

Since then, things have been a big different. He dropped .157 points in OPS, played disgustingly bad defense and basically drove Red Sox fans nuts. But what other lesson can we be reminded in this case? The old scouting mottow: Once a player displays a skill, he owns it. Carl Crawford hasn’t lost his skill. Inury took away his ability to utilize those skills.

I’m on record as saying that I think the Crawford signing was a good one. He doesn’t put up the typical power numbers, but he’s never been that player. Production is production, regardless of how you achieve it. A healthy Crawford and Ellsbury at the top of the lineup is an absolute nightmare for an opposing pitcher and Red Sox fans are soon going to have a change of heart.

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