MLB Free Agency: The highs and lows of long-term deals

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 7: Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and left handed pitcher Patrick Corbin answers questions during his introductory news conference at Nationals Park. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 7: Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and left handed pitcher Patrick Corbin answers questions during his introductory news conference at Nationals Park. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

6. Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, 2011-2017, +3.8

One of the centerpieces of the Tampa Bay Rays’ rise to the 2008 American League pennant, Crawford was a four-time All Star. He batted .305 and .307 with solid offensive numbers in the two seasons prior to hitting the free agent market.

That made him a logical target for the big spending teams, of which Boston turned out to be the most dedicated. The Red Sox offered him a seven-year deal totaling $142 million.

With Boston, Crawford was a short-term flop. Expected to lift the Sox back into contention following a third place finish in the AL East, Crawford’s average fell 50 points, his home run and RBI totals also declined and his OPS+ dropped from 135 to 85.

It didn’t take long for the Sox partisans to turn on their highly priced star. Following a 2012 season in which he played sparingly, Crawford’s contract was unloaded to the Dodgers in an exchange of bad contracts that also included Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and James Loney.

The change of scenery didn’t help. Crawford played full-time only his first season, relegated to occasional duty after 2014. His power loss was especially noticeable; Crawford managed just 18 homers across four seasons in LA.