Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 3/21/13
It's really tough for a player with five years and more than $100 million remaining on his contract to be labeled as an x-factor. But when that player is just two seasons removed from a seven win season and has amassed less than one win over the last two seasons...yeah, he's got a chance to make a bit of an impact going forward. My x-factor for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 is Carl Crawford. Pop quiz time. Everyone knows that Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp were fixtures in the Dodgers' outfield in 2012. But who ranked third on the team in defensive innings in the outfield? You guessed it: Tony Gwynn Jr. Gwynn logged 578 innings in the outfield for the Dodgers last year, more than 100 more than trade deadline acquisition Shane Victorino. Gwynn, of course, had a .569 OPS for the Dodgers in 2012 and had negative value as his formerly elite defensive numbers dropped off. Past Gwynn and Victorino, the other two Dodgers to log at least 300 innings in the outfield were Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera. Really. Cumulatively in 2012, the Dodgers left field corps had a .674 OPS, ranking just behind the Astros for the 24th-best (worst?) mark in the league. Their six homers out of left field was the lowest total in baseball, with the Giants and Blue Jays a step above them with ten. That's not good, even if Crawford isn't an elite power hitter.  If Crawford is healthy and logs substantial playing time for the Dodgers in 2013, he'll be a vast improvement over the left fielders that the team trotted out in 2012. Right now, with Crawford's availability for Opening Day in question, Skip Schumaker is projected as the Dodgers' left fielder to start the year. You know, the same Skip Schumaker that has 23 career homers in 810 career games and has been worth 5.6 fWAR over his entire career. Jerry Hairston Jr or Alex Castellanos could also get playing time in left with Crawford out, but neither really is a long-term option due to age (Hairston) or a track record built upon brutalizing younger competition and taking advantage of hitters parks (Castellanos).  Say what you want (and justifiably so) about how much of an upgrade Adrian Gonzalez is over James Loney, but a healthy Crawford is an even bigger upgrade over the Dodgers' other options in left, and the crew they trotted out there last year (Victorino included). Dodgers on TOC End of Season Postmortem 2013 Season Preview You May Say I'm a Dreamer 2013 Burning Question This Is My Nightmare 2013 X-Factor [follow]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Florida's Chiozza sends Wisconsin home on incredible buzzer-beater

LaVar Ball gets Crying Jordan, meme treatment after UCLA loss

Celtics upset Suns tried to pad Devin Booker’s stats

Five teams that may be interested in Blake Griffin this summer

Report: Tony Romo ‘believes it’s Texans or retirement’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clay Matthews Sr. passes away at 88

WWE’s Kane is inching toward running for mayor in Tennessee

Jung Ho Kang denied visa for DUI, may miss 2017 MLB season

Jets not ready to say Josh McCown will be starter

Sens owner on Sidney Crosby: He’s 'a whiner' and should be suspended for Methot slash

Report: Griffin could be growing more open to leaving Clippers

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker