Add one more pitcher to the free agent pool

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Not a terribly notable one, though.  It’s Hisanori Takahashi, a 34 year-old lefty from the Yomiuri Giants who has declared free agency and wants to pitch in U.S..

The only things I could find out about the guy is that (a) he had a couple of decent years as a starter a few years ago; (b) he has been a swingman since then; (c) he got roughed up in his last outing in the Japan Series; and (d) he “got a Yomiuri batter’s foul ball on his face in his bench on a day the first half of 2006 and he got out of games.”  Yes, that last bit came via a blog post that was translated from Japanese.  If someone has an English language scouting report on this guy, they dug really really deep to find it.

Because he’s a lefty there will probably always be a place for a fellow like Takahashi, though given his resume and his age, his posting fee probably won’t buy you fare from Shinjuku to Moto-yawata on the leaf green line of the Toei.

Wait, what

(photo via a Creative Commons license via Flickr)

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.