Carl Crawford shut down with nerve irritation, status for Opening Day in question

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Carl Crawford won’t hit or throw for at least a week because of forearm tightness, manager Don Mattingly announced today.

Players taking time off with aches and pains is a very common occurrence early in spring training, but in Crawford’s case it’s a much bigger worry because it’s related to his Tommy John elbow surgery last year. For now the Dodgers are saying he has “minor nerve irritation” and the ligament isn’t an issue.

Mattingly told Eric Stephen of SB Nation that the setback “challenges” Crawford’s status for Opening Day, which is now very much in question.

Crawford played just 31 games last season and didn’t appear in a game for the Dodgers after coming over in the Adrian Gonzalez-led blockbuster trade/salary dump. He’s owed $20 million for this season and has more than $100 million remaining on his contract.

Report: Giants showed some interest in Phillies’ Maikel Franco at Winter Meetings

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.

Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.

Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.

Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.