What happened in 2016: In his final season with the Dodgers, Carl Crawford played in only 30 games before being designated for assignment and subsequently released in June.
The veteran outfielder started off 2016 on a positive note with a slab of ribs when he provided his teammates and the media some delicious eats from his family’s barbeque restaurant during Spring Training at Camelback Ranch.
Crawford broke with the team after Spring Training and was on the Opening Day roster, but it would not take long for him to land on the disabled list with lower back soreness in April. The left fielder unfortunately was placed on the DL five times since being acquired by the Dodgers in the August 2012 trade with Boston that netted Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto for James Loney, Ivan De Jesus, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands.
I wrote about Crawford’s struggles and the Dodgers’ overall poor production out of left field in early May, a situation that contributed to the team’s combined left field numbers on the year (.240/.316/.386/.702 with 14 home runs).
Even though they still owed him $34.6 million, the Dodgers made the necessary decision to cut the underachieving and injury riddled outfielder in June, replacing him with Austin Barnes on the roster, and making Chad’s meme come true.
Dodgers, plz. pic.twitter.com/yeoBPVux43
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 5, 2016
Trayce Thompson‘s early season success, Scott Van Slyke‘s return from the DL and the increased use of Howie Kendrick in left field limited Crawford’s playing time significantly, making him expendable.
Once a dynamic outfielder and four-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, Crawford attributed his decline to the many years he played on artificial turf at Tropicana Field when he said in April that “I’m lucky I’m still walking the way I’m walking now.”
2017 status: Carl Crawford is currently a free agent and said in September he was not ready to hang up his cleats yet, citing Tampa Bay or Houston as clubs he’d be interested in playing for. The Dodgers still owe The Perfect Storm $21.8 million next year, but that amount could be decreased should he earn a major league salary somewhere else.