Off Season Do Over: What If Carl Crawford Signs With The Angels?


I’m really not the what if type. I tend to live in the present and work my way around from there. However I’ll admit that from time to time I think about what would have happen if I never hurt my knee at football practice my Junior year of high school. Or what if I didn’t play football or basketball at all and just focused on baseball – where would I be now?

Anyways enough about me.

The what if in question here relates to Carl Crawford. It was wildly assumed when the free agent signing period started last off season that Crawford – the speedy left fielder from the Rays – would be headed west to Anaheim. After-all Crawford and Torii Hunter were buds and the outfielder’s raw speed and left handed stick would have fit right into Mike Scioscia’s lineup. Carl appeared destined to be an Angel and then wham! –  something went wrong. Crawford said the Angels handled his pursuit weirdly and then Arte Moreno  came out and said Crawford just wanted too much money. By the time the dust settled Crawford ended up signing with the Red Sox for 7 years and $142 million dollars and the Angels (possibly in a panic) traded Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells.

Both moves have back fired for both teams. Crawford has not appeared to be a good fit in Boston and has slumped to a .259/.295/.410 slash line with only 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases. Wells meanwhile has been a large disappointment in Anaheim posting a .224/.256/.424 line with 24 home runs (homers are nice but not redeeming). So what if the Red Sox didn’t over pay for Crawford and he settled for a more reasonable deal with the Angels as expected? How would the 2011 Angels have looked then?

Lets take a look after the jump.

Colin Cowherd likely said it best-  what ifs are for losers  – but just for a second lets examine what the Angels would have looked like if Crawford joined the club. The biggest improvement would likely have been the fact that they could have retained Mike Napoli. Over time the poor hitting of Jeff Mathis on a semi regular basis would have grown tiresome to Mike Scioscia (as it has this season). With a viable offensive alternative to turn to Scioscia would have eventually been left with no choice but other than to play Napoli at catcher virtually everyday. What the Angels would have afforded Crawford was a chance to hit in a more natural spot in the lineup for him (either second or third) something that didn’t exist in Boston with the presence of Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez in Bean town. Maybe that fact alone – coupled with the laid back So Cal environment gets Crawford off to a better start? Maybe not? We will never know.

Like I said sometimes its ok to play what if.

For what is worth the Halo lineup could have looked something like this:

  • Maicer Izturis – 3B
  • Howie Kendrick – 2B
  • Carl Crawford – LF
  • Mike Napoli – C
  • Torii Hunter – RF
  • Mark Trumbo – 1B
  • Bobby Abreu – DH
  • Erick Aybar – SS
  • Peter Bourjos – CF

While not spectacular this club is a major offensive upgrade over the current roster merely with the omissions of Wells and Mathis playing everyday. Hindsight is always 20/20 and while both Wells and Crawford have many more seasons to turn there play around, it is clear that both the Wells trade and the Crawford signing were failures in 2011.