If there is any member of the Red Sox who should be happy about the beer-drinking debacle that became the scapegoat for Boston’s September collapse, it’s Carl Crawford. The news that John Lackey, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester were outed for drinking and goofing off in the clubhouse during games overshadowed the fact that Crawford had a season to forget. After signing a seven-year, $142 million contract, the left fielder hit .255 with only 11 homers and 56 RBI. In the weeks following the collapse, Red Sox owner John Henry admitted he was opposed to signing Crawford last offseason.
In a perfect world, Crawford would brush off those comments and use them as motivation. That could still happen, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pointed out that C.C. was disappointed with what Henry said.
“I can’t do nothing about what he said … just go out and play,” Crawford explained. “It was unfortunate he feels that way. It’s nothing for me to say to him. I wasn’t happy about it. I was a little surprised to hear the comments but you know it’s unfortunate he feels that way. Wish those words hadn’t came out.”
In a text message to Cafardo, Henry tried to clarify what he meant back in October.
“Again, this wasn’t about Carl,” Henry wrote. “At the time I was opposed due to too many lefties in the lineup and particularly in the outfield. Also, our two best prospects were left-handed hitters. My answer was an honest, off-the-cuff response on a radio station to a false assertion that ownership signed him for offseason PR purposes. This was a baseball decision I ultimately backed.”
The Red Sox don’t need any additional drama heading into the 2012 season. In fact, they need quite the opposite and they’re hoping Bobby Valentine can right the ship. If Crawford finally settles in and uses Henry’s comments as motivation, he could give Boston’s offense a huge boost this year. If the lack of support from the team’s owner translates into more nerve issues for the $142 million man, a signing that looked bad last year could look atrocious in 2012.