Dodgers cut ties with underperforming Carl Crawford
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Dodgers cut ties with underperforming and oft-injured outfielder Carl Crawford on Sunday, designating the former All-Star for assignment.
Crawford was hitting .185 with two doubles, a triple and six RBI in 30 games. He has $35 million left on his contract over the next two years.
Since being acquired in a nine-player trade with Boston in August 2012, the 34-year-old left fielder had batted .278 with 18 home runs and 99 RBI in 320 games. It was the biggest trade in Dodgers' history.
Crawford's best years were in Tampa Bay, where he was a four-time All-Star, and earned Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards with the Rays in 2010. He was MVP of the 2009 All-Star Game.
But he hadn't done much since helping the Dodgers in their run to the 2013 NL Championship Series, when he hit .320 with four homers and six RBI in 10 postseason games.
He had already been on the disabled list for lower back tightness in April.
''He's frustrated because his body is not letting him produce the way he used to, but Father Time catches up with everyone,'' manager Dave Roberts said.
Crawford was injured in each of his seasons with the Dodgers, including 2012 when he underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
''He's worked really hard and played really hard, and ultimately that takes a toll on your body,'' said Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations. ''We just felt we had gotten to a point where this was what made the most sense.''
Friedman's history with Crawford dates back to 2006, when Friedman became GM of the Rays and Crawford was in his fourth season with them.
''It's never as easy thing to do, but not surprisingly, he was a tremendous pro about it,'' Friedman said. ''It's definitely not from a lack of work ethic. Carl was one of the most dynamic players in baseball. Just an elite athlete, really good bat-to-ball skills, tremendous defender.''
The team recalled catcher-infielder Austin Barnes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was hitting .306 with eight doubles, a triple and 11 RBI in 37 games playing catcher, second base, center field and third base in the minors. He made the Dodgers' opening day roster and went 2 for 15 with an RBI in six games at catcher and second base before being optioned on April 15.
''We have young kids like Austin who are forcing the issue and we have to do what is best for the organization,'' Roberts said. ''Austin gives us more flexibility. He can play infield and outfield and he can even catch. Carl was in that position 14 years ago. He understands the game and how it works.''
The Dodgers are getting impressive offensive production from youngsters Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson. Shortstop Seager leads the team with 12 homers, including three on Friday against Atlanta, and is hitting .279. Outfielder Thompson is hitting .277, with nine homers, and had three steals against the Braves on Saturday.
Veteran outfielder Andre Ethier remains on the DL with a broken right foot while approaching the early part of the team's initial 10- to 14-week recovery period. Friedman said he's had no setbacks.
''We can't rush it,'' Friedman said. ''There are some days that are better than others. We're not at a point of even getting to a date to start a rehab assignment.''