Shortly after the Dodgers completed what is arguably the biggest trade in MLB history on August 25, they held a unique post-game on-field press conference with new additions Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. Noticeably missing from this near-midnight (albeit creative) press conference was the fourth and final piece of what many say was nothing more than a $367 million salary dump by the dysfunctional Red Sox. That missing piece, of course, was outfielder Carl Crawford, who just two days earlier had undergone Tommy John surgery to repair his left (throwing) arm.
On Friday morning and on the heels of their disappointing “almost made it” 2012 season, the Dodgers finally got their opportunity to formally introduce Crawford to the media at a press conference held in the Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium.
“I got so excited, coming to a team playing with other great players… Matt Kemp, I’ve known Andre Ethier for a while,” Crawford said to the gathered media about when he first learned of the trade. “From what I hear, this is a team that wants to really win a championship and it’s definitely built to do so. That’s my goal, to help this team win a championship,” he added. When asked if he’d like to join Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon in a little one-on-one basketball with Magic Johnson, he laughed and said “Ya, that’s something that I definitely want to do.”
When asked how his rehab was going, Crawford said that he won’t be able to throw or swing a bat until January but expects to be ready by spring training. He added that he has been doing a lot of running to stay in shape.
“That’s my whole career, that’s my livelihood… my legs. I’ve got to go the extra mile to keep my legs up to par; I have to pay extra attention to my legs… that’s everything.”
Although some are skeptical (even critical) as to whether or not Crawford is worth the $120 million that the Dodgers will be paying him over the next five seasons, it is difficult to ignore his impressive .292 / .332 / .441 career triple slash numbers. More notably are his four All-Star appearances (including the 2009 ASG MVP Award), 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards, and his four AL Stolen Base titles (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007). The 31-year-old Houston, TX native also tied a MLB record when he stole six bases in a game on May 3, 2009 against (go figure) the Boston Red Sox.
“Carl Crawford isn’t just a good signing, he’s a great signing,” said former MLB manager Kevin Kennedy. “I saw Carl play every day when I was with Tampa Bay (as a broadcaster) and I’m telling you, he is a superstar and Dodger fans are going to love him,” added Kennedy, a current talk show host on DodgerTalk and MLB on XM.
For those still skeptical of Carl Crawford (which I definitely am not), here are some of his accomplishments over his 11-year MLB career:
- American League All-Star (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010)
- Gold Glove Award (2010)
- Silver Slugger Award (2010)
- Fielding Bible Award (2006, 2008, 2009)
- American League Stolen Base Champion (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007)
- American League Triples Champion (2004), (2005), (2006), (2010)
- All-Star Game MVP (2009)
- MLB modern-era, single-game, stolen-base record: 6 (May 3, 2009)
- International League Rookie of the Year (2002)
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum ”Cool Papa Bell Legacy Award” (2003)
- Tampa Bay Chapter/BBWAA Devil Rays Most Valuable Player (2004, 2010)
- Tampa Bay Chapter/BBWAA Devil Rays Most Outstanding Rookie (2002)
- Rays single-season runs record: 110 (2010)
- Rays single-season triples record: 19 (2004)
- Rays single-season stolen base record: 60 (2009)
- Rays’ all-time leader in at bats, plate appearances, RBIs, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, strikeouts, stolen bases, and singles.
- Named the Rays’ “Face of the Franchise” by ESPN