The Dodgers didn't know what to expect from Carl Crawford in 2013. After two disastrous years in Boston, the left fielder was at times great — .308/.388/.516 with a team-leading four home runs in April, and .310/.356/.619 with four home runs in 10 games in the playoffs — and at times less so.
He missed a month with a hamstring injury in June, and went 85 games without a home run, though he did smack 25 doubles during that span. In the end, his final numbers — .283/.329/.407 — were pretty much in line with his career mark of .292/.332/.439.
While Crawford enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts at the plate in 2013, hamstring issues sapped some of his speed at points in the season. Crawford was efficient in stealing 15 bases in 19 attempts (a 78.9% success rate), he is still a far cry from the player who averaged 50 steals in 61 attempts (82.5%) from 2003-2010 in Tampa Bay.
"Protecting his legs is more giving him his days. It's the amount of time he's on the field, the number of days in a row. If he's healthy, he's going to want to run," Mattingly said. "At times [he was a threat to run], but he had two little [hamstring injuries]. At the end of the season he stole some bags late, because his body was feeling better. His body will tell us what he's going to do."
Crawford cracked 150 games six times in eight full seasons in Tampa Bay, and averaged 146 games per year. But since then has been injury-plagued to the tune of just 277 games in the last three seasons. Even his bounce back year in 2013 featured just 116 games played.
With the four-outfielder situation looming large over the Dodgers, coupled with the desire to give Crawford ample rest, it's unlikely he'll play 150 games for the Dodgers. But perhaps they can coax a more productive 120 or so games out of the left fielder.
In the first 10 years of his career Crawford hit almost as many triples (112) as home runs (115). The 112 triples were the most in baseball during that span (2002-11) and he averaged one triple every 52.98 plate appearances. In 2012-13, Crawford has five triples, or one per 118.8 plate appearances.
Crawford in his career has nine postseason stolen bases without getting caught.
Crawford will make $20.25 million in the fourth season of his seven-year, $142 million contract. He has four years and $82.5 million remaining on the deal.
2013: One more try
|2014 projections - Age 32 season|
Most of the projections see roughly a repeat season for Crawford in 2014. I'll guess he hits .291/.338/.417 with 25 steals and 111 starts in the outfield. What's your guess?