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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani’s second-year Angels contract goes more smoothly than Mike Trout’s

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TEMPE, Ariz. — This time the Angels avoided the brief controversy they faced the last time they had the reigning rookie of the year.

The Angels on Monday announced that they had signed all of their pre-arbitration eligible players, including Shohei Ohtani. The Angels signed Ohtani for $650,000, which is $95,000 above the major league minimum of $555,000.

In 2013, the Angels renewed Mike Trout’s salary for just $20,000 over the major league minimum, prompting Trout’s agent to issue a statement saying he believed the team had not treated Trout fairly.

Teams have the right to unilaterally assign a salary to all players who are not yet arbitration-eligible. Almost all players agree to their salaries, as a formality, but those that don’t have their salaries renewed.

Former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said the team used an objective formula, based more on service time than performance, to assign salaries to pre-arbitration players.

Under general manager Billy Eppler, the Angels still use a formula to determine the salaries, but it apparently weighs things differently. Eppler would not discuss the details of the system.

For comparison, last year the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger made $585,000 and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge made $622,000 in the season following their rookie of the year awards. The major league minimum last year was $545,000. Judge came into 2018 with more than a year of service time, because he spent some time in the majors in 2016.

COZART RECOVERING QUICKLY

Zack Cozart, who is out with a Grade 1 calf strain, has progressed so quickly that he now believes he will be ready by opening day.

“I would say 100 percent I will make opening day, in my mind,” Cozart said Monday. “I feel way better. We’re going slow with it, but I don’t see (opening day) being an issue.”

Cozart said he resumed hitting and throwing within the past couple days, and on Monday he was scheduled to try to run. He said he figures he’d soon be ready to start facing some live pitching.

“I hit two days ago for the first time and my timing and everything felt the same,” Cozart said. “Once you start creeping to two or three weeks (missed), then you almost have to start over to get the timing that I was trying to get.”

The Angels had planned on Cozart being a starter, but they didn’t know if he’d play third base or second. It depended on which player won the other starting spot among a group including David Fletcher, Taylor Ward, Luis Rengifo and Tommy La Stella.

Cozart said so far he’s spent almost all of his time at third.

PROGRESS FOR JONES

A day after the Angels sent Jahmai Jones down to minor league camp, Manager Brad Ausmus said he was impressed with the transition Jones had made from outfield to second base. The Angels moved him just after he was sent out of big league camp last spring.

“I saw him in (Double-A) Mobile last year and I saw him in the Arizona Fall League and saw him this spring, and he looks a lot more comfortable,” Ausmus said. “His actions are a lot smoother now than they were even in the Fall League in November. He’s making progress. And I know talking to him that he’s a lot more comfortable, mentally, if not physically.”

Jones agreed that he’s made significant progress at his new position, which he’d played in high school before moving to the outfield.

“I’m feeling good where to where I have more confidence than I did during the season last year, just out of the sheer reps,” he said. “I went through an entire season of being put at second base.

“It was kind of up and down trying to feel it out, feel myself, feel how to play it at an elite level. I don’t want to be an average second baseman. I don’t want to be a below average second baseman. I want to be an above average second baseman, if not even better than that.”

ALSO

Justin Upton (knee tendinitis) was scheduled for some live batting practice on Monday. Upton has also begun doing some drills in the outfield. Ausmus said that Upton could begin playing in minor league games later this week. Upton has insisted throughout the spring that he’ll be ready for opening day, despite missing much of the Cactus League schedule. …

A day after Ausmus moved Jared Walsh from the pitcher’s mound to first base in the middle of an inning, he said he may try to go the other way around later in the spring. He also said he may try moving Walsh from the mound to first and then back to the mound. Ausmus said he’s using the spring to make sure he understands the rules as they apply to moving players to and from the mound. When a pitcher moves to a position, or vice versa, the team loses its DH. The manager has his choice of which spot the pitcher goes into, though. …

Ohtani continued his throwing program with a similar routine to what he did on Friday, the first day of throwing. He made 55 tosses, mostly from 30 to 40 feet. Ohtani also continued hitting off the tee and soft toss, although taking slightly fewer swings than he took on the days he didn’t throw. …

Justin Bour returned to the Angels lineup a day after being scratched because of right knee soreness.

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19 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

the Angels learned their lesson.  For less than 100k, they kept a future star happy.   

I think they should make Trout's extension 375,050,000 😀

What lesson did they learn?  Did Trout leave for free agency because of his 2nd year contract?  I thought he signed an extension. 

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15 hours ago, stormngt said:

What lesson did they learn?  Did Trout leave for free agency because of his 2nd year contract?  I thought he signed an extension. 

it was a bad optic at the time though.  clearly they thought so or they wouldn't have given a little extra to ohtani.  

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17 hours ago, arch stanton said:

So Ohtani got a much larger raise than the Cy Young winner

and over twice as much as Houston gave Bregman, who isn't happy about it.

"Bregman said he was "disappointed" and felt "like I should have been compensated differently for my performance last year." 

 

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