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Weekend HaloLinks: Eppler trying to Sho ‘hei the money

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An otherwise innocuous trade vaulted the Angels into the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes...

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Japan v Netherlands - International Friendly Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Well, Billy Eppler must really have a Johnson for Ohtani. Some predatory maneuvering yesterday launched the Angels deep into the International talent sweepstakes.

I go into it (from my perspective) below. But this is as hot of a stove weekend as we Baseball has had to date. Keep in mind that we have only one more quasi-idle week left before the Winter Meetings in Orlando (12/10 - 12/14).

Have these Finally-Any-Good-News-Offseason-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Billy Eppler is not the kind of guy to stash his cellphone in cheetos bag to avoid work. Eppler actually made a notable transaction yesterday, acquiring closer Jim Johnson from the Braves in exchange for LHP prospect Justin Kelly. The 34-year old Johnson is the kind of guy who we hope can be fixed by a Charles Nagy. He had a fine 2016, but a sucky 2017. Better than Huston Street’s 2016, worse than Cam Bedrosian’s. Kelly was a 33rd-round draft choice of Eppler’s back in 2016 who had a better season in the minors last year the further he fell in the organization. So I am not paying much attention to either player. Not as of December.

No, what I am paying attention to is the $1.2million in international bonus pool money that came back from Atlanta along with Johnson. It took the community a few minutes to figure that out yesterday, but that is the important play. That raises the LAA pool total to $1,315,000. The Halos are no longer embarrassingly poor in the Shohei Ohtani derby. They jumped from 38th to 7th in pool resources for any one player right now, still a ways behind the 1st place Rangers ($3.535MM) but for a guy like Ohtani, who claims not to be about the highest dollar offer, that means that Eppler might nearly have table stakes......And if Ohtani doesn’t work out, that money can always be used on these guys.

Since we are now talking about trading international pool moneys, let’s recap. The Braves used to have a ton of it but as part of their recent punishment they were blocked from spending almost any of it. So they traded away their unusable pool. Now, let’s slide forward. The Giants have $1.8MM in their pool. Aren’t they blocked from spending more than $300K of that on any Ohtani because of the bonus paid to Lucius Fox (not this Lucius Fox...THIS Lucius Fox)?? If that is correct, could Eppler inject himself into the Stanton talks and create a 3-way in order to fill some gaps between SFG and MIA and get at that SFG int’l pool money in return? I know. Pie-in-the-sky stuff and I am too GA to see if I have the SFG situation right. But it’s a fun daydream at the moment.

The odds are still high we don’t land Ohtani, which would make all the excitement right now a pretty fun read to realize that all we got out of it was Jim Johnson. But what the hell, have fun with it. It’s been a long, long wait...........

Oh, also, Michael Hermosillo talks about his journey from the back rounds of the draft up to the 40-man roster..........


Everywhere In Baseball

FanGraphs takes that observation from Jeff Passan yesterday as to why the off-season activities are slower/duller than in the past, and extends those to understand how that is clobbering Baseball’s middle-class talent............It is also why older, proven, sluggers are no longer able to drive up salaries by getting GM’s to go auction crazy..........

Baseball agencies trying to properly represent their clients while negotiating with MLB franchises are getting mugged by the MLB analytics staffers. They have too little firepower, and the players are going to suffer because of it. Just one more M.O.A.B. landing on the bunker where the MSM dinosaurs are hiding from where they launch their anti-saber scuds..........

0 pitch intentional walk? No fist bump for you!...........

Tony Clark is not wondering why the hot stove season is so lukewarm. He and his crew are watching it closely, expecting things to heat up. Why is it that I get the feeling that I pay better attention to the trends in baseball markets better than does the head of the MLBPA? Has nobody alerted Clark to the trend for payroll to head toward younger players? Or the issues I link to above about player agents getting steamrolled by franchise analytics and FA competition for proven slugging power being a thing of the past??............

I like the rising tide of “A-Rod for Yankee Skipper”. This actually started way back in February. Earlier this month it was put out there by none other than Carlos Beltran, himself a candidate. Yesterday the SBN mothership was followed by ARod’s own girlfriend.....Brian Cashman is not ruling it out entirely, although ARod himself has. But wouldn’t that be just the kind of grit to grind into Commissioner Manfred’s gears?..........


Hot Stove

Today is non-tender deadline day. In this New Normal of a slow off-season, this is a big deal. Teams are scrambling to trade guys they don’t see keeping before they dump them for nothing outright. which will create a new class of Free Agents that will stuff the lower end of the market for GM’s seeking to plug holes at affordable rates..........

It’s real comforting of ESPN to figure out how it might be possible for the Yankees to land Shohei Ohtani. I await the remainder of this series, where they do likewise for the other 29 teams. Certainly the next installment will arrive any day now, no?.....................

Eppler was not the only GM busy with bullpen moves yesterday. The DBacks got Brad Boxberger out of the Rays. Boxberger is younger than Jim Johnson, cheaper than Jim Johns, and had a much better 2017 than Jim Johnson. But Boxberger didn’t come with that $1.2MM of int’l bonus pool money........

Stanton Focus: The Marlins are haggling with the Giants over package details, and the TL;DR version is take all that is reported and know that the Marlins will keep $50MM of Stanton’s contract if they get to also keep Dee Gordon..........By the way, there was a LOT of late night Stanton to the Giants whispers going on when I was finishing up. By the time you read this, this entire paragraph might be dead news..........

Ohtani Focus: In this Tim Brown study as to how viable it might be for a modern day player to go 2-way, pay particular attention to what it is that Rick Ankiel has to say: “I got the recipe. This can be done. And, yeah, I’m rooting for it. When I was a position player, 100 percent I could have pitched one day a week.“ And Rick Ankiel should know a thing or two about playing both ways at the MLB level..........


The Duffle Bag

Dueling headlines: Sports Illustrated = “Aaron Judge Received More Votes Than Kristaps Porzingis In NYC Mayoral Election“ versus SBNation = “Kristaps Porzingis edges out Aaron Judge with the most write-in votes for NYC mayor in sports“............Job openings: Sports Info Solutions content R&D spot and video scout..........And another Job Opening: Inside Edge Scouting data analytics intern..........Noted PEDs king Jose Canseco upset that PEDs prince David Ortiz is blackballing him from a charity event because of PEDs history.......... No. No. No, no and no..........Here is a thought difficult to get un-thunk..........