World Series or bust. It was a mantra believed to be true for the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the 2014 season and it was validated, in fact stated verbatim by Clayton Kershaw in an August interview.
The Dodgers fell six wins short of reaching the World Series, 10 of winning a ring and now face plenty of questions in the off-season. While the Dodgers fell short of their goal, Carl Crawford said he doesn’t believe they underachieved, via Pedro Moura of the OC Register:
I know to most people it looks like we’ve got a big payroll and we underachieved, but it’s just one of those things. Every time you make it to the playoffs, I look at it as a success. We just didn’t get to where we wanted to go.”
On a personal level, while Crawford spent the early portion of the season platooning in left field and suffered a sprained ankle that kept him out for six weeks, the left fielder ended the regular season on a high note.
Crawford began to hit well prior to his injury and manager Don Mattingly made the decision to stick with the veteran as the primary starter upon his return in July. The 33 year old initially struggled but found his swing and finished the year hitting .300 for the first time since 2010.
While Crawford hit .313 in August and .448 in September with 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases, he wasn’t able to carry over his production into the NLDS. He finished 5-for-17 in the four games, but failed to come up with a hit in key moments.
Crawford’s shortcomings includes him grounding out to end Game 4 and eliminate the Dodgers with the tying run on second base and the go-ahead run at first. It’s unlikely the Dodgers will go forth in 2015 with the same crowded outfield they’ve carried for the past two seasons, which could make Crawford a trade candidate.
However, given Crawford’s age and the fact that he’s owed over $60 million for the next three seasons, the odds may be more likely he remains in Los Angeles.