That’s what Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is hearing:
The feeling is that if the Rays’ financial picture gets any gloomier,
Crawford will be trade bait by the trading deadline or even earlier. In
fact, both he and Carlos Pena could have new addresses at some point in the season.
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The 28-year-old Crawford — who had his $10 million option picked up by the Rays in November — is on the verge of hitting free agency for the first time. General manager Andrew Friedman has expressed a desire to lock Crawford up with an extension, but knowing that he could receive a contract equal to, if not better than what Chone Figgins and Jason Bay found this winter, it would be a surprise to see him take a discount.
The loss of Crawford would be a blow, both for his contributions on offense and defense, but fortunately the Rays have 23-year-old outfielder Desmond Jennings quickly rising through their minor league system. There’s many who say he’s ready to contribute at a high level in the major leagues right now, so while I wouldn’t expect Friedman to operate with any particular timetable in mind, it would be an easier sell to the fan base if they were looking up at the Red Sox and Yankees in July.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.