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]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Harrison wants trade if Pirates are not committed to winning

Brees on future with Saints: 'I'll be here as long as they'll have me'

Report: DeAndre Jordan wants to be traded to Rockets

Source: Lakers ‘frustrated’ Lonzo Ball won’t stand up to his father

Report: Steelers owner facing pressure to fire Mike Tomlin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Leonard Fournette involved in three-car accident, not injured

Ben Roethlisberger: Running QB sneak is coach's decision

AJ McCarron thinks he would've succeeded with Browns

Report: Cavs players starting to doubt team issues will be fixed

Rockets GM makes light of wild confrontation with Clippers

Bryce Love to return to Stanford for senior year

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Grading the deal: Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen to Giants

The NBA's deep middle class emerges

Is Mike Moustakas that much better than Travis Shaw?

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

Sabres look to be biggest sellers ahead of NHL trade deadline

Who stands to benefit the most from the slow MLB offseason?

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

The 'Home field disadvantage' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bruins, Flames, Jets are taking flight

Sabres look to be biggest sellers ahead of NHL trade deadline

The 'How much ya bench?' quiz

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