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.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.