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.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.