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Carl Crawford is set to become a $20 million bench player for Dodgers

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

For Carl Crawford, a return to the roster may not mean a return to the lineup. (USATSI)
For Carl Crawford, a return to the roster may not mean a return to the lineup. (USATSI)

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Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, who has been sidelined since May 27 with a left ankle sprain, is likely to come off the DL soon. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes, that probably won't mean a return to the starting lineup:
The Dodgers have ascended to first place in the National League West behind a stabilized outfield of Matt Kemp in left field, Andre Ethier in center and Yasiel Puig in right. Mattingly said he would speak with Crawford about his role but said he "is not really planning any big changes" and said the Dodgers have played better with a set outfield.

As Shaikin notes, the implication is that Crawford, despite a $20.25 million salary for this year, is in line to become a bench player. While GM Ned Colletti's decision to acquire Crawford and others from the Red Sox in that high-dollar blockbuster of August 2012 was and still is thoroughly dubious, it's in a sense praiseworthy that the Dodgers are going to try to field the best lineup regardless of salary. That's what teams should do at all times, but too often clubs let payroll drive lineup and rotation decisions.

As for Crawford, this season he's batting .267/.293/.400 (94 OPS+) in 44 games and coming off a 2013 season in which he put up an OPS+ of 107. He's signed through 2017. In the here and now, though, Kemp simply looks like the better player.

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