ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Angels acquired pitcher Jim Johnson and the Atlanta Braves’ remaining $1.21 million in international bonus signing allocation on Thursday for minor league left-hander Justin Kelly, a deal that raises Los Angeles’ possible bonus offer to Shohei Ohtani to $1,315,000.
Los Angeles had been 28th among the 30 teams in bonus space for Ohtani. The trade Thursday lifted the Angels to seventh behind Texas ($3,535,000), the New York Yankees ($3.5 million), Minnesota ($3.07 million), Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Seattle ($1,557,500) and Miami ($1.49 million).
Ohtani, coveted as a pitcher and an outfielder, could be posted as soon as Friday by the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League and be available to any major league team willing to pay his team’s posting fee, expected to be the $20 million maximum.
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Atlanta was penalized by Major League Baseball last week for violating international signing rules. The Angels could use the allocation to sign prospects whose deals with the Braves were voided, a group that includes Venezuelan infielder Kevin Maitan, Venezuelan catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, Dominican shortstop Yunior Severino and Dominican right-hander Juan Contreras.
A 34-year-old right-hander, Johnson had 22 saves while spending the first four months of last season as the Braves’ closer. He had 51 saves over parts of three seasons with Atlanta.
Johnson pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. He had the best seasons of his career with Baltimore in 2012 and 2013, saving 101 games.
Johnson gets $4.5 million next year in second season of a $10 million, two-year contract.
Kelly had a 3.53 ERA while pitching at five levels of the Angels’ minor league system last season. He made his pro debut in 2016.
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