The KC Royals could use a shot in the arm to help their lineup to help break out of their current five game losing streak. Could former outfield star Carl Crawford help?
It’s no secret that the Kansas City Royals have been leaning on their AAA talent to patch holes left by injures to left fielder Alex Gordon and third baseman Mike Moustakas. Indeed, two of the replacements in right fielder Brett Eibner and third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert are nursing injuries of their own.
Add in the fact that the KC Royals offense has cooled off after rallying in the face of injuries, and kicking the tired on Carl Crawford begins to make some sense.
The Dodgers bit the bullet on Crawford Monday afternoon, designating the 34-year-old outfield for assignment despite more than $35 million left on his contract for the remainder of this season and through 2017. Crawford was once one of the best leadoff men in the game, posting a 7.0 WAR season for Tampa Bay in 2010 before turning into a pumpkin after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract with Boston.
- New pitching coach looks like a good fit for KC Royals
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: Second baseman Michael Massey
- KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: Look to Texas for help?
- KC Royals Hot Stove News: Trades, signings, more
- KC Royals Trades: How the midsummer deals worked out
Crawford moved to L.A. in a salary dump, and put up a couple of tolerable seasons in Dodgers blue. In fact, he was a useful player as recently as 2014, when he slashed .300/.339/.329 with 8 home runs and 23 steals in 343 at bats. This season, Crawford hasn’t been able to get going hitting .185/.230/.235 while appearing in 30 games for the Dodgers.
The primary benefit of Crawford for the Kansas City Royals is that he’d come cheap. Presuming that no insane team claims him on waivers, he’ll come at league minimum with the Dodgers paying the freight on his guaranteed contract. The question is how much he has left in the tank?
Crawford could help the KC Royals if he could rebound to the 2014 version that was quite the effective leadoff hitter. His addition could be just the excuse to move Alcides Escobar out of the no. 1 spot since the reeling Kansas City Royals might be ripe for a shakeup.
The argument against bringing in Carl Crawford is that’s he’s just not the guy he used to be. He hit .265/.304/.403 in 181 at bats in 2015 while struggling with injuries. He hasn’t been a defensive asset since 2010, posting negative dWAR numbers each of the last five seasons. He still has good speed and can steal some bags, but he’s not the thief that lead the American League in stolen bases four times in the early ’00’s for Tampa Bay.
The other problem is that Crawford would be stealing playing time from Paulo Orlando and Brett Eibner who have filled in quite nicely for the KC Royals since Gordon’s injury. While you can’t really expect them to continue slashing ,462/.500/.682 (Eibner) and .339/.359/.438 (Orlando), the pair have been hitting so well it’s hard to say the Kansas City Royals have an outfield need.
In the end, I think the KC Royals should pass on Carl Crawford. He was once a terrific player, but those days are long gone.