Crawdaddy is dead; long live Crawdaddy. Thanks to loyal SoSGer Johnny Blanchard for this in-depth take on Carl Crawford's meaning to the Dodgers:
Carl Crawford is gone, long live Carl Crawford. Here was something that happened some time ago. Per baseballreference.com:
August 25, 2012: [Carl Crawford] traded by the Boston Red Sox with Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for players to be named later, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney and Allen Webster. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Rubby De La Rosa (October 4, 2012) and Jerry Sands (October 4, 2012) to the Boston Red Sox to complete the trade.
This is part and parcel of our new era, Dodgers fans. This was basically the big move that the new ownership (AKA Magic!) gave us, as a sign of our commitment to winning. The sign that the Dodgers were going to be the behemoth that we were supposed to be all along. Look at that trade right there again. Even before opening up the stats pages, you already know that this trade has been an unqualified success. They swung for the fences — our Dodgers — and we crushed it.
The Dodgers from 1986 to 2006 stunk. Oh sure, we got the World Championship in '88, but let’s face it, that team sucked. Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson were it, with a bunch of crap otherwise. Past Kirk and O, our next biggest contributors per WAR were Tim Leary and Tim Belcher and John Shelby. Tim Leary had no track record; Belcher was a rookie; Shelby was acquired in a good trade to get rid of Niedenfuer, although there was really no indication Shelby would be a great player, and really he wasn’t in 1988. It’s really a joke to look back on how poorly the Dodgers were run back then. After the '70s and early '80s, the Dodgers were good but not great, and certainly not performing like the elite top 3 team they should’ve been. And then came the '90s, which were fine I guess, but I knew when we made the playoffs in the mid-'90s we were the inferior team to whomever we played. AND THEN we traded a Hall of Fame player ("Mike Piazza") that our galactically stupid fans booed before he left because he had the gall to ask for money commensurate with his talent. Then came the early 2000s and basically mediocrity until the wonderful McCourts showed up.
Frank McCourt tried to do what was right. This is true, amazingly enough. He didn’t know anything about baseball (other than the Red Sox were wicked awesome), so he went out, and you’ve gotta give it to the Bostonian jerk, he hired the smartest guy around, one Paul DePodesta. Now, despite your opinion, typical Dodger fan, Mr. DePodesta was our best upper management type since I would assume the '80s, judging on the stupidity of our moves during those years. You may hate math and calculators and spreadsheets and numbers, but those sorts of things are the things that typically entail what is called "a plan." So DePodesta put together a plan, wherein we signed good players that were actually worth the money and got rid of pieces of garbage that were overvalued and/or aging steroid freaks (see Encarnacion, Juan — the man who ranked in the top 10 in outs made in 2002 and 2003 and LoDuca, Paul who was 32 when we traded him and about to be a free agent after magically having a 25 home run season in 2001, when he turned 29, after hitting 35 in his entire professional career prior to that), and in return we got a great pitcher (see Penny, Brad) who was 26 years old. Those are the sorts of things someone does when he has a plan.
But, alas, Paul DePodesta was fired the next year, essentially because Bill Plaschke had it out for him, and Bill Plaschke had it out for him because he was a nerd. No sources are needed for this assertion because everyone is aware of this that follows the Dodgers and Plaschke wrote a column acknowledging it, for Pete's sake. So, the dumb fans booed away because they traded away Paul Lo Duca, a non-Hall of Fame catcher, and the Dodgers lost a smart general manager with a plan, back when those general managers were not as prevalent as now, 2005.
OK, fast forward, we had old Ned Colletti, and whatever, he was fine, but not exactly on the forefront of the sabermetric revolution. He played along with McCourt's desires to suck money out of the Dodgers and they did OK, mostly because of our great farm system of the 2000s. Blah, blah, blah, it wasn’t actually that bad and Manny Ramirez dropped into our laps, and they had a great late 2000s, being a lot closer to the World Series than most fans realize. In any case, they were starting to have a plan, which was to build a farm system, essentially because it was cheaper than acquiring old talent, thanks to Frank McCourt. Amazingly enough.
And then "Magic" bought the Dodgers in May 2012, and the Dodgers finally had someone with a plan. Does anyone out there realize this is the golden era? Do you people know we are in the good old days? Who cares if we have tons of money but the guys who run the team are idiots? We had idiots running our team from 1986 until 2006, give or take. And starting in 2012 until this moment, we have a plan. And the first big move was to use our financial power to get a great player (see Gonzalez, Adrian), along with useful, good Major League players (see Punto, Beckett, and Crawford) that helped our team.
Carl Crawford hit .278/.320/.400 for us from 2012-2016. He even stole 48 out of 61 bases, which is a good rate. I am unaware that he was a clubhouse cancer. He was not a great outfielder, but not horrible. He had a bad arm. Having a bad arm is the least important thing for a left fielder. (As a side note, as regards winning, having a great arm in the outfield, especially left field, is spectacularly overrated. This is one of those things that stupid fans think is important but it is really just a very obvious thing when a guy can’t throw well. Meanwhile, ask those stupid fans what exactly makes Carl Crawford a vastly superior player to Juan Pierre. I guarantee you those fans find it hilarious to say that Crawford has a noodle arm. So did Pierre. Pierre had less than half of Crawford’s career WAR in about the same number of years.) Carl Crawford hit .353/.421/.882 in the 2013 NLDS, which kinda helped us win that series.
So, I don’t know, maybe I'm fighting a straw man here, and everyone appreciated Carl Crawford’s contributions. I guess what I'm saying is that Y'ALL need to know that the Dodgers being "forced" to take Carl Crawford’s contract is exactly why it’s awesome to be a Dodgers fan right now.
Photoshop by @EephusBlue