Do the Mariners and Brewers have something cookin'?

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As I mentioned in the recaps
this morning, it was probably a blessing in disguise that the Mariners
have face-planted in the past week or so. It was always going to be
tough to keep up with the Angels and even the Rangers, and the fact
that their lot seems to have been cast before, rather than after, the
trading deadline is probably better for their long term prospects.

As Geoff Baker notes,
trading Jarrod Washburn has to be on the top of the agenda. He’s
classic deadline material: a veteran starter pitching better than he
ever has, and in great need of being shipped out so that some value can
be realized. If the Mariners didn’t get rocked by the Indians this
weekend, it would be Seattle, and not someone else, who would have to
watch his painful regression to his mediocre mean.

Baker talks about maybe unloading Washburn to Milwaukee for
shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar. As he notes, it would take more
than Washburn to do it, but if they could pull that off, it would go a
long way to balancing their karma out from the Adam Jones-Erik Bedard
deal. Oh, and it would help the team a lot too.

And lest you think that this is mere wishcasting on the part of Mr. Baker, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is thinking the same thing.
Almost exactly the same thing, actually (Washburn and change for
Escobar), which makes you wonder if he and Baker compared notes. Or
have the same team source.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.

Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.

Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.