The Royals sign Aaron Crow

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After taking a year to play independent league ball and avoid becoming a Washington National, Aaron Crow has signed with the Royals.  The deal: a three-year Major League contract that guarantees $3 million and could be worth $4.5 million if he reaches the big leagues.

Last year he was picked ninth.  Without a slot to dictate these sorts of things it’s hard to tell what he would have gotten, but it’s worth noting that, generally speaking the guys picked in his neighborhood in 2008 received bonuses in the $2-2.6 million range.  The Nationals reportedly offered him $3.5 million.

Upshot: he moved from a bad organization to a worse one, and cost himself half a million bucks and a year’s development time.  You’re never sad when someone makes you a millionaire, but I have to think that the holdout wasn’t worth it.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.