Angels expected to make serious run at Carl Crawford

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The Angels are going to make a serious run this winter at free agent outfielder Carl Crawford.  This is something we’ve all known for weeks, and now it’s finally being talked about.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote this evening that the Angels have identified the multi-talented Crawford as their “primary” offseason target and are prepared to make him the franchise’s first “$100-million man.”  That’s what it’s going to take to land the left fielder, who registered a .307 batting average, 851 OPS, 19 homers and 47 stolen bases in 50 chances this season for the American League East champion Rays.

He also has fantastic range in the outfield and rightfully collected his first Gold Glove this season.

Angels veteran Torii Hunter shared his honest thoughts about the Crawford idea with Shaikin:

“The Yankees are not going to go after him,” Hunter said. “They’ve got Cliff Lee. Boston might be the team.  “I think Boston and the Angels, that will be the bidding war.”

Hunter’s right.  The Red Sox are going to be serious bidders, and other teams will be at least making offers in what is likely to be a long and drawn-out negotiation process .  HBT’s Matthew Pouliot rated him as the No. 2 free agent on the market this winter.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: