ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 1: Evan Longoria stands in the batters box during his turn at bat in the game against the Baltimore Orioles (Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)

Evan Longoria is headed to San Francisco. Yesterday (December 20th, 2017), the Rays traded their franchise cornerstone to the Giants. Longoria will now be playing third base in California's bay area. Six hours away, actress Eva Longoria lives in Hollywood. Obviously the two have similar names, but is Evan Longoria related to Eva Longoria?

The quick answer is no. Although both share a surname and both are of Hispanic descent, the Giants' third baseman and the Hollywood actress are not from the same family. They've had at least some form of contact, however, and have even made light of the fact that they share a last name. According to this web site, Eva Longoria sent a bottle of champagne to Evan in July 2008. It was a gift to celebrate his first All-Star selection; she also sent three jerseys to sign and send back to him.

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: The Yankees have paid the luxury tax during the majority of the past decade (Al Bello/Getty Images)

The luxury tax, otherwise known as the Competitive Balance Tax, is essentially a soft payroll ceiling. The purpose of the tax is to reduce the advantage of large-market teams that can afford to spend more money. Baseball teams in smaller markets (such as the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers) can't afford to spend money like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers. As a result, the latter teams can buy free agents of higher quality and in higher quantity. The luxury tax forces those teams to incur penalties if their payroll rises above a certain cap.

Upcoming Luxury Tax Thresholds (via MLB.com)

2018: $197 million

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TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Shohei Ohtani hits a double (Masterpress/Getty Images)

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has agreed to post their premier player Shohei Ohtani; this posting process will make him available for any of the 30 Major League Baseball teams to sign. Ohtani is often referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth, and excels as both a pitcher and hitter. He has played for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in NPB for five years.

Ohtani won't be the first player to come over from Japan to play in MLB. Accomplished major leaguers like Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, Hisashi Iwakuma and Ichiro Suzuki have all followed the path from NPB to MLB. Here are a few fast facts you need to know about Nippon Profession Baseball, or "Puro Yakyu" as it is sometimes referred to in Japan.

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29: Trevor Hoffman is one of the best relievers of all time. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Hall of Fame ballot has been released for 2018, and Trevor Hoffman is one of 33 players on it. Over the next few weeks, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will make their final voting decisions. BBWAA writers can vote for a maximum of ten players the believe should be immortalized in MLB's Hall of Fame; any player who appears on at least 75% of the ballots earns a place in Cooperstown, Ohio. We'll find out who made the cut on January 24th, 2018! Second Nexus Sports has already profiled Chipper Jones and Jim Thome; today we'll be looking at Trevor Hoffman.

Trevor Hoffman

Year on Ballot: 1st

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Hector Rondon is a potential non-tender candidate for 2017 (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The non-tender deadline for 2017 is fast approaching. This year, the deadline falls on December 1st at 11:59pm EDT. By that point, teams must decide whether or not they will tender contracts to each of their arbitration-eligible players.

Those players who aren't tendered contracts will be eligible to negotiate with all 30 MLB teams. So leading up to that time, we'll see flurry of players join the free agent market.

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Jay Jaffe's book is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble

The Hall of Fame ballot for 2018 was recently released. Many baseball pundits are discussing which players have a chance to be enshrined forever in Cooperstown, Ohio. Voters within the BBWAA each use their own logic and statistics to determine who will be on their ballot. One stat we'll hear floating around in a lot of conversations over the next few weeks is JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score). The JAWS system creator, Jay Jaffe, has been around baseball for a long time.

Here are a few things you might be interested to know about Jay Jaffe

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SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08: Edgar Martinez has a JAWS of 56.0 (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

With the recent release of the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot, you may be seeing some advanced stats pop up. One of those stats is JAWS, which is used exclusively to determine a player's Hall of Fame worthiness. So what does JAWS stand for in baseball? The answer is "Jaffe WAR Score", and it's a pretty genius system.

The JAWS system was originally developed by Jay Jaffe during his tenure at Baseball Prospectus. The purpose is to improve the standards for the Hall of Fame. At its core, JAWS uses Wins Above Replacement (WAR) measures of a player to compare him to other players already in the Hall of Fame. But it's actually slightly more complicated than you might think.

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