Carl Crawford regrets signing in ‘toxic’ environment in Boston

Carl Crawford turned out to be one of the worst Boston Red Sox signings in team history, and there are a number of reasons why. For starters, it seemed like he was never healthy after signing a whopping seven-year, $142 million contract with the team. Whether or not he could have played through more pain than he did is a matter of personal opinion, but it seems fairly obvious that Crawford was incapable of handling the pressures that went along with playing in Boston.

On Wednesday, Crawford essentially admitted that when speaking with Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.

“I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me,” Crawford said of his nearly two awful seasons in Boston. “I just didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. It puts you in kind of a depression stage. You just don’t see a way out.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers absorbed more than $100 million of Crawford’s contract to bring him to the west coast, a place where he said he feels “a lot better” about himself. Despite having yet to play a game for the Dodgers, Crawford said he now feels like the player he once was with the Tampa Bay Rays. But here was the part of his interview with Hernandez that I got the biggest kick out of:

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Carl Crawford says he felt pressure from Red Sox fans to play hurt

From the moment he was pouring sweat uncontrollably when the Boston Red Sox announced him as their newest signing in 2010, you had to wonder if Carl Crawford could handle the pressures of playing in Boston. Looking back on his year-and-a-half with the team, one would come to the conclusion that he could not.

Crawford’s inability to stay healthy was a big part of the reason for his struggles. He needed Tommy John surgery and did not get it until the day after he was traded to the Dodgers. Why did he wait? He was tired of being ripped to shreds by the fans.

“Nobody said I should keep playing, that was just me,” Crawford told the Los Angeles media according to the Boston Globe. “I didn’t want anyone to say ‘I’m not sitting on y’all money.’ That was the biggest thing, people on the radio shows saying he makes 20 million. I’m a hard worker and I wanted to show that. I wasn’t performing well. I know Boston is a blue collar town so I just wanted to have the same attitude that I was working hard to be on the field. At the end of the day, I should have listened to the doctor and helped myself out.”

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Carl Crawford: I didn’t feel like Terry Francona had any confidence in me

It didn’t take long for Carl Crawford’s first season with Boston to get ugly. After inking a massive contract that highlighted a huge offseason for the Red Sox last year, Crawford brought virtually nothing to the table. It was no secret that he lost confidence as the season went on, but it may come as a surprise to some people to hear that Crawford did not feel that Terry Francona had his back.

“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence,” Crawford told Rob Bradford of WEEI during a recent interview. “I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager, so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence, therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that. It had a trickle-down effect, and it just got worse and worse as the days went by.”

Francona has always been known as a player’s manager. By dropping Crawford down in the lineup for most of the season, he was probably trying to take pressure off of him and allow him to get back on track. Apparently Carl did not see it that way. Considering Red Sox owner John Henry basically admitted he didn’t want to sign Crawford, it’s interesting to hear the outfielder talk about his former manager that way.

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Carl Crawford says it’s ‘unfortunate’ Red Sox owner John Henry did not want him

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.

Brian Cashman: Yankees Faked Interest in Carl Crawford to Drive Up Price

The practice of pretending you are interested in a free agent simply to force the competition to pay more for them is nothing new for MLB general managers. That type of thing happens all the time and is an inherent part of the off-season schedule. However, a GM beating their chest about it does not happen that frequently.

As we all know and Carl Crawford recently acknowledged, the Red Sox’s biggest free agent acquisition since Manny Ramirez has been a year one bust.  Nobody expected Crawford to be hitting .259 with only 11 homers and 55 RBI with a handful of games remaining in the season.  With the way Brian Cashman is talking, you might expect him to claim he knew this would happen.

“I actually had dinner with the agent to pretend that we were actually involved and drive the price up,” Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday. “The outfield wasn’t an area of need, but everybody kept writing Crawford, Crawford, Crawford, Crawford. And I was like, ‘I feel like we’ve got Carl Crawford in Brett Gardner, except he costs more than $100 million less, with less experience.’”

You’re the man, Brian.  As Hardball Talk pointed out, this is an extremely easy statement for Cashman to make at the end of a horrific season from Crawford.  If he were hitting .320 and in the hunt for A.L. MVP, would the Yankees GM be boasting about faking interest?  Chances are he would say something along the lines of, “we did our due diligence on Crawford and it just didn’t work out.”  Driving up the price is all part of the game during the off-season, but bragging about it doesn’t make you look any wiser after a guy flops.

Carl Crawford Apologizes to Red Sox Fans for Poor Season

About a month ago, the Boston Red Sox held a seven-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. Wild Card race. While any major league club would love to win a divisional pennant, the ultimate goal is making the playoffs. Back in August the Yankees and Red Sox both looked like a lock to reach the postseason. Which team would win the division only a minor detail that would be hashed out by the time the season ended.

Along came the Rays, surging as they always seem to.  A combination of quality play from Tampa and horrendous play from Boston has resulted in the Red Sox holding only a two-game lead over the Rays in the Wild Card with 10 games remaining.  One man who has not done much to help the Sox this season is Carl Crawford, and the $142 million dollar man acknowledged that in his final blog post of the season on ESPNBoston.com Sunday.

“I want to end the diary saying something to the fans of Boston,” Crawford wrote as passed along by Big League Stew. “I just want to say I’m sorry for the year I’ve had. You guys have been really supportive and I appreciate that. Hopefully when we get into these playoffs, I can be the real Carl Crawford that I know I am. We’ll see.”

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Carl Crawford: Young Rays had Party Atmosphere, Red Sox More Conservative

Carl Crawford was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 1999 and played nine seasons for them. He signed a seven-year $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason and has struggled with his new club, posting his poorest numbers since his first season in 2002. When he returned to play his former team at Tropicana Field for the first time Tuesday night, he heard plenty of boos and heckles. He also explained a difference between the two organizations when asked to give one.

“It’s all baseball. But it’s a little different,’’ he said. “It’s more a younger team [in Tampa], so it was more like party central all the time. [In Boston] it’s a little more calmer, a little more conservative. That’s probably the biggest difference.’’

The natural reaction is to say that maybe Crawford needs to party a bit more to loosen up so he can perform the way he used to, and that could be the case. But what he said is to be expected for two reasons. First, in a city where the media and fans care about the team as much as they do in Boston, it’s difficult for players to fool around frequently; that attitude wouldn’t sit well in the community. Secondly, like he said, younger players tend to party more than older ones. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a player say a former team partied too much, and it’s implied that these athletes like the business atmosphere more. For Crawford, it would be interesting to know what suits him more.

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk