The Angels completed a trade with the Braves that landed them reliever Jim Johnson (and his $4.5 million salary) along with $1.21 million in international cap space Thursday. , but what's really interesting is the newfound flexibility the Angels now have in the international market.
Here's the upshot ...
Yep, Angels general manager Billy Eppler stated flat-out that the Angels are trying to position themselves as a strong contender for Japanese two-way threat Shohei Ohtani, who's reportedly going to be posted on Friday.
Ohtani, while also a promising hitter, is mostly appealing to major-league teams because he has ace stuff in the rotation, and the Angels -- trying to build a contending roster around Mike Trout despite a weak farm system and a tight budget -- definitely need starting pitching. It'll cost teams the $20 million posting fee to land Ohtani, but Ohtani, because he's subject to those strict new cap limits on international free agents under the age of 25, will be paid far, far below his market value, at least until he signs a contract extension in the years to come.
Rangers, Twins and Yankees have the most budget room left ($3.535 million in the case of Texas), and in all just six teams have enough space to sign Ohtani to a seven-figure bonus. Before Monday, that group of six included the Braves. Now the Braves have been replaced by the Angels .... The quick-and-dirty version is that Ohtani, as a player subject to the July 2 signing period restrictions, won't be paid a signing bonus of more than $2 million to $3 million. The
And with that the Angels are positioned to make a competitive run at Ohtani. Given the artificial restrictions on Ohtani's bonus, "soft factors" will likely play a role in his eventual decision. So, Angels, warm up those soft factors.