MLB Rumors: LA Angels, Shohei Ohtani, and other news from around the league
Shohei Ohtani takes another meeting, the Angels look to spend, and two more free agents find homes
As we wait for the offseason to kick into overdrive, even the smallest of rumors can satisfy the mind of a hungry baseball fan. From the continuing sweepstakes for Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, to the upcoming Winter Meetings to the fact that no major free agent has signed anywhere just yet, the anticipation has mounted to where the excitement is bursting at the seams.
In today’s case, the Los Angeles Angels appear ready for a busy winter and have two targets of which we know, but will the Halos pull the trigger as they hope to keep star outfielder Mike Trout in SoCal? And how much would they spend in free agency to do so?
Strap in, everyone. This is the Rumor Roundup.
Ohtani meets with Angels
Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani has been a busy bee since being posted, having taken several meetings on Monday as well as yesterday. Per Jeff Fletcher of The Los Angeles Daily News, Ohtani met with both the Dodgers and Angels in Los Angeles on Monday along with representatives of the San Francisco Giants. Fletcher also reports Ohtani met with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs yesterday.
The Angels meet Ohtani’s preference for playing on the west coast, but a small market team they are not. In fact, save for New York, Los Angeles is probably the biggest media market in the United States.
Despite that, the squad from Anaheim has lived in the shadow of the Dodgers and could use a splash to put them back on the radar, but keep in mind the Angels only have just over $1.3m to spend on Ohtani and would have to convince him to take less bonus cash because of potential for endorsements in Southern California.
Either way, a meeting with the San Diego Padres is also forthcoming and though Ohtani has until December 22 to sign with a team, expect him to sign a contract with the Angels or another interested squad in the coming days.
Angels like Carlos Santana
Speaking of the Angels, they have their eye on another free agent who isn’t Shohei Ohtani. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the team wants to add a corner infielder and likes the switch-hitting Carlos Santana, formerly of the Cleveland Indians. Santana, 31, hit .259 last season with 23 home runs and 79 RBI as the Tribe won the AL Central before losing to the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
The big difference between Ohtani and Santana is that the latter will not come cheap. Santana earned $12m in 2017 and, on top of being a power threat from both sides of the plate, he proved last year he can be a strong defensive first baseman. Santana posted a defensive runs saved (Rdrs) of ten and looked more confident in the field than he has in the past, so he will easily command a contract worth well north of $100m.
Adding Santana would also mean Angels GM Billy Eppler finding a trade partner for CJ Cron, who has yet to blossom into a strong power-hitting threat on the MLB level. Maybe with the Winter Meetings coming up that trade can become a reality and Los Angeles’ pursuit of Santana can intensify.
Two arms find new homes
And we close out today’s Rumor Roundup with another happy ending as two pitchers have signed new MLB contracts! The first belongs to former Padres and Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas, who signed a two-year, $15.5m deal with the St. Louis Cardinals after spending the previous three years with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball.
Mikolas underwhelmed in his first go-around in MLB, posting a 4-6 record and 5.32 ERA in 37 games (ten starts) with San Diego and Texas. In Japan, however, the 29-year-old looked like a new man and went 31-13 with a 2.18 ERA and sub-1 WHIP while striking out 378 hitters in 424.2 innings as a full-time starter. He is expected to compete for a spot in the Cardinals’ starting rotation come spring training.
The other pitcher who found a new home is Wily Peralta, who signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals according to Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star. Peralta is 28 years old and did not do well at all with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017, posting a 5-4 record with an atrocious 7.85 ERA in 19 games (eight starts). His deal with KC is worth just over $1.5m and has a $3m option for 2019.
Peralta can be used as a starter and won 17 games back in 2014, but has failed to prove he can be consistently effective in that role. The Royals may allow him to compete for a spot at the back end of the rotation, but odds are greater than none the veteran righty is bound for the bullpen.