It’s been a long, winding road for Carl Crawford since he left the Rays.
While in Tampa, Crawford had an immense impact, becoming of the best young players in the game and helping the franchise reach its first ever World Series in 2008. In 2009, he continued to terrorize the AL, being named the All-Star Game’s MVP and performing feats like stealing six bases in a single game against the Red Sox. Over the course of nine years, his Rays days saw him hit .296 with a .791 OPS, 104 HR, 105 3B, and 409 SB. They were the best years of Crawford’s career, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that a return could be in the cards.
If OF Carl Crawford, released last week by the Dodgers, were interested, the Rays would at least talk about a reunion.
Things haven't quite gone according to plan since Crawford left Florida. You can’t play as well as he did in Tampa without attracting the attention of the Red Sox, and Boston began sniffing around Crawford as he neared free agency at the age of 28. He departed for Beantown, but in 2012, the injuries began to pile up, with Crawford needing surgery to repair his left wrist, spraining a ligament in his elbow, and then played only about a month before missing the rest of the season following Tommy John surgery. The Boston Glove’s Nick Cafardo recently called him “arguably the worst free agent signing in Red Sox history,“ (though his numbers aren’t bad - .292/.419/.711 in 161 games).
After being traded to the Dodgers, Crawford called the culture in Boston “toxic,” and in 320 games with L.A., he hit .278/.320/.400. But further injuries limited his playing time and he was eventually DFA’d this month, still owed $35 million by the Dodgers, before being released.
That makes him available for Tampa to bring him in, if they choose. The Rays have been getting a .228 collective BA from their outfielders this season. Kevin Kiermaier’s broken hand forced them to bring in rookie Mikie Mahtook, but that has not completely quelled the notion of bringing back Crawford, their franchise hits (1,480) and runs (765) leader.