Francona, who was fired two days after the team lost 20 of their first 27 games that year, made the assertion in excerpts published this week by Sports Illustrated of his upcoming book, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
"We need some sexy guys" to raise television ratings, former general manager Theo Epstein is quoted in the book as saying.
The acquisitions did nothing to help the team or its marketability, Francona said. Crawford was frequently on the disabled list, while Gonzalez didn't hit as powerfully as expected.
They were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2012.