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Carl Crawford is ready to return, but the Dodgers aren’t planning to play him

Jul 9, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT

Carl Crawford AP

Carl Crawford‘s ankle injury led to Matt Kemp coming off the bench and rejoining the Dodgers’ starting lineup, but now that Crawford is ready to return it sounds like he’ll be the one on the bench most days.

Don Mattingly has gone with Kemp in left field, Andre Ethier in center field, and Yasiel Puig in right field while also giving occasional starts to Scott Van Slyke, and the manager told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he “is not really planning any big changes” with Crawford set to return as soon as tomorrow.

Mattingly went on to say that “everybody is happier … they don’t have to come to the ballpark looking for the lineup card.” He also indicated that Crawford playing a position other than left field isn’t really an option, and Kemp has started all but one of the past 39 games there while hitting .289 with a .781 OPS. By comparison, Crawford hit just .267 with a .693 OPS in 44 games before the injury.

Circumstances can change quickly, of course, and it only takes one injury for Crawford to be back in the lineup as a regular. He’s also making $20 million this season and is owed another $62 million from 2015-2017, so one way or another a long-term spot on the Dodgers’ bench probably isn’t in the cards.

  1. mlblogsduddysjournal - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    If a long term spot on the bench isn’t in the cards, then how else would that be resolved. He is making too much to simply cut and who would be foolish enough to trade for him and that monster contract.

    • dollasnsense - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      If Vernon Wells can be traded, Crawford can definitely be traded

  2. ijusth - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    with Ryu pitching like junk and Beckett hurt I am thinking trade bait for a starter?

    • icanspeel - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      That’d only work if the Dodgers picked up most if not all of his contract too.

    • stex52 - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      I’m thinking with those numbers and that salary that he won’t get much of a starter. I’m not sure they can give him away for 20 MM$ if his OPS hovers around .690. A lot of cheap rookies can do about that well.

    • Detroit Michael - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Ryu wasn’t pitching like junk before yesterday. Ryu’s year-to-date stat line is fine. In the four starts before yesterday, he had a 2.42 ERA with a 23 K / 3 BB ratio.

      Your comment seems like a severe over-reaction to one poor start.

      • blabidibla - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        To be fair, he’s a dodger fan. Paying attention from one game to the next is hard work for them. There are a lot of beachballs to bat around, you know.

    • rrussell1967 - Jul 10, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      In 17 starts Ryu has given up 2 or fewer runs in 11, 3 or fewer in 13…. that is pitching like junk?

  3. xpensivewinos - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Van Slyke to Boston for Lackey?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      More like Ethier. I’ll be shocked if the Dodgers get rid of Scotty.

      • geejon - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Ethier won’t be traded because he’s their only CF. Mattingly realized Kemp was killing them in CF so he’s been permanently moved to LF and the team’s defense has been good since the change. Van Slyke, with his production at his cheap price tag, is going nowhere. He spells Ethier in CF against lefties and can do the same for Gonzo at 1B. He’s one of the most valuable guys on that team. He’s going nowhere either.

        Since Crawford got hurt, everyone’s role got defined, the defense improved, and the team as a whole relaxed and started playing better. There’s no place for Crawford unless someone gets hurt. It’s just what it is. Yes he’s an expensive bench player but making a deal just to open up a spot for a guy on the downside of his career makes no sense. He’ll either be dealt for an equally horrid contract or for a fringe starter/reliever with LA picking up 2/3 of his deal.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        A couple thoughts. One, I’m not too worried about Kemp going back to center. His ankle has improved. His range in left seems alright. They will keep him in left because Mattingly likes defined roles, and they should unless they trade Ethier. Second is that Crawford’s contract doesn’t bother me. He was on-fire when he went on the DL, and he’s a streaky guy. A full 4-5 man outfield will guarantee Gonzalez some more rest at 1st and probably less play for Kemp, although in this scenario, you will probably see Kemp and Ethier sharing centerfield duties.

        Van Slyke has been clutch for the Dodgers this year. Just great to see after he was shifted off the 40-man during the offseason. He’s a great bat off the bench, and is truly capable all over the OF and at 1st.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        Crawford back to Boston for Peavy. There’s a deal that has some sort of schadenfreude written all over it. Beckett’s injured, and Peavy can either pitch for him or else make chicken runs for him.

  4. happytwinsfan - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    And a few days ago the Twins had Chris Parmelee playing center field. Life isn’t fair.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Yeah, but you signed for one of the two midyear grads of the Borass Baseball Academy last month.

  5. Homesforsaleinfriscotx - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Ethier AND Kemp and Crawford (WHAT???) and 30 Million to Boston for Uehara and Jackie Bradley and Wil Middlebrooks, freeing up CF for Joc Pederson and left field for Van Slyke.

    Getting rid of three malcontent, and/or underachieving, grossly overpaid outfielders , and reversing what Boston did to the Dodgers in 2012.

    Of Course, the only way the Sox do this is the CA$H throw-in, which may have to rise to include 80% of the outfielders’ contracts remaining. But the Sox have had just about 0 production from their outfield this year, and all 3 of those from the Dodgers, at a huge discount, would be a big upgrade over what they have

    • chrisernst82 - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Why dont you have the Sox throw in Mookie too, since your dreaming anyway lol

    • toodrunktotastethischicken - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      A healthy Victorino is better.

    • rrussell1967 - Jul 10, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      Why would the Dodgers (or anyone) give up anything for two guys who have proven nothing? Van Slyke is good in his role, he isn’t any everyday player.

  6. greymares - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    He’s still owed 60mil sounds like a trade to Philly.

  7. watermelon1 - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    They came back from being 21 games down, right? Now in first? I wouldn’t change anything either.

  8. playball - Jul 9, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Crawford can block trades to some teams. Anyone remember the teams?

  9. papacrick - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Trade him to the Tigers and let him platoon in LF with Rajai Davis and trade Dirks or wait for him to get injured again in his rehab starts

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