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Monday, July 9, 2012

Should Carl Crawford Bite The Bullet, Have TJ Surgery?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 20:  Carl Crawford #13 of the...
Having recently stated that his elbow could blow out at any time, would it be in the Red Sox best interest for Carl Crawford to have tommy john surgery now?  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Carl Crawford's sophomore season has been as much or more of a disaster than his freshman. The only upside may be the fact that he's yet to swing his bat in a game at Fenway Park this season. There's optimism that he can turn it around when he returns, but when exactly will that be? He's earned over $20 million this season and hasn't played a game past AAA.

Crawford recently stated that his ailing left elbow "could blow out at any time". If that doesn't instill confidence, I don't know what will. Since his rehab was reset and he's required to sit for seven days, it's not expected that he will return until the end of July, leaving just August, September and hopefully October. That's if his elbow doesn't fall apart the way his bat did last season.

Since he hasn't contributed a lick this season and there's zero chance that he will earn a quarter of his $20 mil, wouldn't it be smarter for the Red Sox to shut him down and focus on finally getting a full season of return from the former star outfielder?

If there was a great chance the Sox were headed for the October dance, and there was a gaping hole in left field, then maybe it would be worth getting Crawford back and setting a date for Tommy John surgery during the offseason. Even in that scenario though, it would be iffy.

Is it worth losing a chunk of next season, when the Red Sox may be in a better position to contend, just to have him for the final two months of a season in which Boston is 9.5 games out of first place? There's a chance the wild card can be had, but is Carl Crawford going to have a profound effect on that?

If he's willing to admit, on multiple occasions, that his elbow is a liability, it's obviously a problem that needs to be fixed. I'm not a fan of risking the entire '13 season for the final months of this less than ideal '12 season. Do the surgery, get back as soon as possible next season and try to get back to the game-changer he once was in his St. Pete days.
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