During the 2010 offseason, the Red Sox general manager
revealed that he actively pushed the front office — under Theo Epstein's reign
at the time — to sign Crawford to a long-term deal. That's why it was
bittersweet to pull the trigger in Saturday's trade.
"I do like Carl, and I would bet on him being a good
player again," Cherington said. "He'll work hard to come back from
his injury. It didn't work out for him during his two years here."
Crawford's time in Boston
was a nightmare. Just a few games into the 2011 season, then-Red Sox manager
Terry Francona dropped Crawford down to the No. 7 hole in the lineup.
A year later, Crawford admitted he harbored ill will toward Francona for his lack of confidence. Amid his struggles, the outfielder started
suffering a bevy of physical setbacks, starting with a hamstring injury
The problems snowballed into the offseason, when Crawford needed
wrist injury. Once a return in late in April appeared likely, the 31-year-old
suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament that sidelined him until July.
Crawford attempted to fight the pain and live up to the
contract. Through 31 games, Crawford showed shades of his All-Star self,
hitting .282 with three home runs and 19 RBIs while swiping five bases.
But he couldn't tolerate the discomfort. With the Red Sox
tumbling out of playoff contention, Crawford got Tommy John
surgery Thursday, sealing his fate for the 2012 season.
Reflecting on Crawford's tumultuous, two-year tenure,
Cherington admitted his fondness never wavered.
"Last year was, I think, a difficult transition year
for him," Cherington said. "I think he admitted that. I think the
frustration for all of us, including Carl, was that I think he did come back in
this spring in a much better position to succeed.
"He was more comfortable in this environment and
ready to play. Unfortunately, [he] had the setback with the elbow that kind of
torpedoed most of his season."
Crawford never had the opportunity to redeem
himself for the subpar 2011 season. Now his potential is headed west.