The Los Angeles Dodgers look to regroup as they underachieved at the end of the season despite their hot beginning.
In a blockbuster, multi-player trade with the Boston Red Sox that sent Adrian Gonzales, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and an injured Carl Crawford to the Dodgers, for James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus Jr., and Allen Webster. Crawford surfaced for the first time on Friday to greet the media at Dodger Stadium. The 31 year old 10 year veteran came to the Dodgers in the August 25 trade, but was still rehabbing from season ending elbow surgery.
In 2010 the former Tampa Bay Rays All-Star chose to sign with the Red Sox over several other teams for a seven year $142 million deal.
His team in Boston was not the way he pictured it along with the organization and their fans. It was so disappointing that Crawford actually took time to apologize not only to the organization but the fans as well. Crawford also recalled how he should’ve taken the advice of well renown surgeon Dr. James Andrews to have the surgery earlier this year than wait until August 24th. He reminded us of the pressure he felt playing in Boston, “a big deal is made about the money and I wanted to play for them. Maybe I should have taken care of myself. I felt pressure from the outside to play, in that atmosphere. You have surgery and you get looked at like you’re being soft or try to take the money. I wanted to prove that wasn’t the case and it probably cost me time from next year. It’s one of the things I definitely learned from.”
Crawford realized unlike his former manager Bobby Valentine that it was time for him to get out of town. “If somebody wants to trade you, to get rid of you, it’s time to move on,” Crawford said of accepting the trade to the Dodgers. “Things didn’t go as planned in Boston. I’m happy for a new start. I just didn’t play well enough there, for whatever reason. It just didn’t work. I didn’t do my part.” So Crawford waived his no-trade clause and willing accepted a trade to Los Angeles to play in Dodgers blue for the remaining years left on his deal.
Crawford was excited for the fresh start with the Dodgers and allowed some insight on his rehab status. He explained that he was ahead of schedule, throwing balls and believes he’ll be ready in time for Spring Training in Arizona. He did say this his left wrist that he had surgery on last spring does flare up at times, however he’s watching it and will be careful when he’s at the plate.
Crawford sounded like the confident politician saying being with the Dodgers is a dream come true. That he’ll give the fans of Los Angeles something to watch next season. He hope his style of baseball power will transcend into the National League and with the Dodgers. “Once I start playing like I normally play, I won’t be the forgotten guy. I definitely have a lot of baseball left in me. It’s good to get a second chance,” Crawford said.
Like many Dodger fans, management hopes the Tampa Bay Crawford will emerge and help lead this team to championships. Tommy Lasorda met with Crawford earlier in the day reminded him of why he traded to the Dodgers, simply for championships.
The Dodgers increase the power in their line with the addition of Crawford and his .292 average will be a significant upgrade from Dee Gordon or even Shane Victorino. The Dodgers have a big decision to make on who will be in the infield with Hanley Ramirez, either Luis Cruz or Gordon.
When asked about Gordon’s role, GM Ned Colletti responded, “We’re not ruling out Dee Gordon, but we’re not anointing Dee Gordon either, we’ll see.”
Crawford is just two months removed from his Tommy John surgery and Matt Kemp is coming off successful surgery. Colletti is confident that the two players will in fact be ready for Opening Day in 2013.