Rumors that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were looking into acquiring Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon have been popping up since the beginning of this past summer. The Halos have been attempting to find steady production at second base ever since they traded Howie Kendrick at the end of 2014. Last season it was a combination of Danny Espinosa, Cliff Pennington and a month’s worth of Brandon Phillips.
It seems, going forward, they would prefer a steadier presence there, one who could provide a spark at atop their lineup. Of the teams interested in Gordon’s services, they’ve long appeared to be the best fit.
Nothing new there, but an interesting development in the pursuit of another player of import could intensify LAA’s interest in dealing with Miami:
Multiple sources believe the Los Angeles Angels remain in the running for Shohei Ohtani.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2017
Over the weekend, Shohei Ohtani’s camp narrowed their choices down to six clubs, and the Angels were one of the lucky teams that made the final cut.
Perhaps sensing that they were indeed players in the Ohtani sweepstakes, the Angels traded a minor leaguer for Atlanta Braves reliever Jim Johnson, taking on major league payroll but also acquiring $1.21 million dollars in international fund money to aid in their pursuit of the Japanese superstar.
To officially remove any doubt...#Angels GM Billy Eppler: "The money acquired in this deal was with an eye toward Shohei Ohtani and the pursuit of him as a player for us."— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) December 1, 2017
Updated international pool totals:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 30, 2017
$3,535,000 - #Rangers
$3,500,000 - #Yankees
$3,070,000 - #MNTwins
$2,266,750 - #Pirates
$1,835,000 - #SFGiants
$1,557,500 - #Mariners
$1,490,000 - #Marlins
$1,315,000 - #Angels https://t.co/kRbg4KnexD
As you can see, the Angels acquisition of the Braves’ international money gave them a nice boost, putting them at least within shooting range of other perceived competitors for Ohtani’s services (the Mariners, Giants and Rangers).
Look who else is on that list, right above the Angels? Why, it’s the Miami Marlins! The Marlins already parted with some of their international bonus pool money, sending $250,000 to the Yankees in the deal last month that saw Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith coming over from the Bronx.
It’s hard to say exactly what the Marlins are going to do once Giancarlo Stanton has been traded, but there has been absolutely nothing out there about acquiring anyone, only speculation on players departing the ball club. Of course we know that, eventually, they’ll have to turn to the task of plugging in roster gaps to field an actual baseball team, but their singular concern as of the moment remains shedding payroll. Nothing Jeter and company have done to date suggests they are going to be particularly active in the free agent market, international or otherwise.
Already having demonstrated their willingness to deal away their international monies, it’s easy to imagine the Marlins doing so again, particularly if if allows the Angels to take on Dee Gordon’s full contract.
Now that the Angels know they are firmly players in the hunt to acquire one of the hottest free agents in the history of the sport, they may very well look to kill two birds with one stone by dealing with the Marlins, filling their hole at second base and boosting their potential offer to Ohtani at the same time.