UPDATE: Vlad Guerrero may not be in the Angels’ future after all

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UPDATE: Mark Saxson of ESPN Los Angels says that Vlad is not part of the Angels’ Plan B.

That’s the speculation from the Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna:

Adrian Beltre, according to numerous media reports, is closing in on a deal with the Texas Rangers, a move that would be a considerable blow to the Angels’ playoff hopes and would greatly increase the chances of slugger Vladimir Guerrero returning to Anaheim.

While the 2010 line looked nice, Vlad had a pretty poor second half and a simply dreadful postseason for the Rangers last year. An extra year on the odometer and moving out of the friendly confines of the Ballpark at Arlington aren’t likely to help him either. And of course, bringing in Guerrero also means leaving Bobby Abreu in the field full-time, when there was a lot of talk about making him the DH in 2011.  All in all bringing back Vlad would be a meh-at-best move for Anaheim. He doesn’t really help much even if everything breaks perfectly. And if it doesn’t break perfectly, it’s potentially harmful.

But my favorite part of all of this is the following line — delivered tongue in cheek, I hope — in DiGiovanna’s article:

But the Angels pulled their offer to Beltre before Christmas, and owner Arte Moreno made it clear at the time that the team would not increase what it felt was a very competitive offer. Beltre’s deal with the Rangers will reportedly be for five or six years and between $90 million and $100 million.

Loosely translated, the second sentence in that passage means “that word ‘competitive’ you just used; I do not think it means what you think it means.”

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.