BOSTON (CBS) — When Carl Crawford signed a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Red Sox, the expectations were pretty simple: Fans and the organization simply wanted Crawford to be Crawford. For nearly a decade, he was a .300 hitter who stole more than 40 bases per season while playing some outstanding defense.
To put things nicely, Crawford wasn’t exactly Crawford.
He hit .260 and stole 23 total bases in his two seasons, all while battling injuries. He was limited to just 31 games last year before his Red Sox career ended rather unceremoniously when he was traded to the Dodgers with Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez.
The drop in production and health was a bit more than could have rightfully been expected for a player just entering his 30s, but now a Dodger, Crawford opened up about his problems in Boston.
“Toughest two years of my career, by far,” Crawford said of Boston when talking with the Los Angeles Times. “From the outside, you watch guys playing over there and you think you can go and play. But you realize, once you get there, it’s a little tougher than you expected.”
Crawford said the environment in Boston was “toxic.”
“It was just everything — me not playing well, me being in an unfamiliar area in an environment that was toxic. Just all those things combined,” Crawford said. “You start to say, ‘Is this ever going to end?’”
It got to the point where Crawford knew he needed a new home.
“I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me,” Crawford said. “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.”
Fortunately for him (and the Red Sox), the Dodgers were more than happy to be that way out, and they somehow only forced the Red Sox to pay $8 million.
Now, Crawford is a Dodger, and he’s hoping to come back strong after undergoing elbow surgery last season. Will the pressure continue to crush him, or will he get back to the player who earned that $142 million contract?
“I hope so,” he said. “I’d like to think that. We’ll see when I get out there.”
He might be OK, just so long as things don’t get toxic.