Thoughts on Carl Crawford, Sox hitters

Updated: August 21, 2012, 5:57 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
In Carl Crawford's final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, he hit a cumulative .306 and averaged 17 home runs, 79 RBIs, 103 runs scored and 54 stolen bases. He also missed a total of 14 games. I thought Crawford was likely to be a tad overrated after signing with the Boston Red Sox, for real life and fantasy, but I never imagined this: In his first two years with the Red Sox, Crawford hit .260 and played in a total of 161 games, with just 14 home runs and 23 steals.

We speak in past tense because Crawford's 2012 campaign is finished, and it's certainly possible some of his 2013 regular season will be compromised as well. He's scheduled for Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow later this week, and it, uh, takes more than a few weeks to heal from that. Crawford has not only been a major disappointment on the field since signing a $142 million deal, but the Red Sox and fantasy owners certainly seem to be looking at more issues next year. How did this happen, and how do fantasy owners -- the Red Sox are another issue -- avoid this in the future?