Eppler’s Domain: CBA, Luxury Tax, Winter Meetings, Moves

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That dreaded time has come where Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union must hash out the details of their collective bargaining agreement before the deadline to avoid a lockout. And the reports have been back-and-forth over whether to not the two sides will reach an agreement.

One of the issues on the table is a possible International Draft, which has caused controversy over the possible threat of diluting opportunities created by the current amateur draft. Another that will likely take some time to figure out is one the Angels are monitoring: the luxury tax.

After just falling under the $189 million dollar threshold in 2016, the Halos are trying to spend wisely on smaller depth moves, something they’ve been doing for the fourth straight offseason. Yes, it’s been that long since the club signed or traded for a big name with a big contract.

However, Arte Moreno, Billy Eppler, and the Angels’ front office might get more to spend if the new CBA features a tax that could reach up to $210 million. But that may come in increments from season-to-season, starting next year. Still, it creates more breathing room.

Rosters are expected to expand to 26. The game schedule should remain at 162 games, with more off-days. September call-ups are sure to be more restricted.

Biggest of all, draft pick compensation might get a major adjustment by eliminating it from the qualifying offer and making it the penalty exceeding the luxury tax.

Then, there’s the possibility of a lock-out. And this means a work stoppage. Hopefully this won’t happen after revenue is expected to exceed $10 billion, and the greatest World Series ratings in 25 years. The first thing that will go is the Winter Meetings in Washington D.C.

This is where the Angels are planning on looking for a second baseman. There are plenty of affordable options on the trade market, such Brian Dozier, Cesar Hernandez, Derek Dietrich, and Josh Harrison. The Halos do have the pieces to get most of these guys. And the CBA is the only thing standing in the way of the Angels pursuing that second baseman next month.


More From The GM’s Office

  • Relavant to negotiations, this kid will likely see a higher salary than what he signed for, and will have a shot at being the fourth outfielder for the Angels. LaMarre, 28, spent 2015 with the Reds, and 2016 with the Red Sox, where the outfielder had his best season at Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .303/.369/.445 over 358 plate appearances. He hasn’t done much at the Major League level. His entire career slash line is below .100, but in only 32 plate appearances. More than likely, the outfielder will sit at Triple-A Salt Lake in case of an emergency. This is also likely another fixer-upper the Angels can develop as they try to add pieces to their farm system.
  • After helping the Angels in times of trouble, Gregorio Petit was designated for assignment to correspond with the LaMarre signing. It wasn’t a very good season, but his .245 / .299 / .353 line held the fort when the club was looking for bench depth. Keep in mind, he was hitting around .270-.280 for much of the season until slumping in September.

  • Graterol didn’t have much of a chance to contribute considering the Angels are going after a veteran catcher, with Carlos Perez as the sure backup. The young backstop only played 12 games and hit .286 / .286 / .429. But he has a .270 / .320 / .335 career slash in eleven seasons in the minors. He’s clearly a minor league journeyman serving as the emergency catcher option. The Angels are wise to move on from this. The next one will come and go as well.
  • Also, pitcher Blake Parker was claimed by the Brewers after being DFA’d as well.
  • By the way, Guerrer is Vlady’s nephew.

  • Sean Rodriguez was the guy Fletch was talking about. Before signing a multi-year contract with the Atlanta Braves, the Angels did have discussions about signing the utility infielder. But the need is more for a lefty bat, and Sean is a righty. That’s all we have on that one.

Hopefully the new CBA will arrive and the Angels will get their second baseman at the Winter Meetings. But until then, we wait like everyone else.