Tonight, the Mariners – one of the seven finalists for international free agent Shohei Ohtani – made a trade for additional IFA bonus pool space, meaning that they must be doing so in order to finalize a deal with Ohtani:
Official: Twins acquire C David Banuelos from the Mariners in exchange for $1,000,000 in international bonus pool cap space.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 7, 2017
It’s over. Bang the gong. Ohtani is going to the Marin …
Source: #Angels acquire international slot money from #Twins for OF Jacob Pearson, who received a $1M signing bonus as a third-round pick in 2017. Clearly adding money for Ohtani, just as #Mariners also did tonight.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2017
Oh. Wait. What?
It’s certainly possible that either or both of the teams are acquiring IFA pool space for another reason – to pursue former Braves prospects? to be able to sign Kevin Maitan using this pool period (Angels)? – but it’s more likely that they’re simply trying to get as much ammo as possible for their final offer. And if they believe that an additional million bucks might make the difference, that’s probably not good news for the Cubs.
If both Angels and Mariners acquired additional bonus $ tonight, I believe these are the new totals:
Giants – capped at 300K
Padres – capped at 300K
Cubs – capped at 300K
Dodgers – capped at 300K
Mariners – 2.57M
Angels – 2.315M
Rangers – 3.53M
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 7, 2017
The Cubs were already behind the eight ball on the money front, and without the ability to even add funds right now, teams like the Mariners and Angels can hustle a bit to try to improve their offers.
Here’s hoping it’s still not about the money! It would strike me as odd and bold for both the Mariners and Angels to add IFA money *tonight* unless they really believed it was a potential difference-maker, though. So, you should probably brace yourself a bit.
(Then again, do you think the Cubs wouldn’t be out there adding pool space, too, if they could? Even if they weren’t sure it would matter? Of course they would. So maybe the other two teams are simply doing every single thing they can to create a small edge, because maybe they don’t know what small edge could ultimately be the difference.)
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.