After reading this winter meetings update from Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News, we may have figured out what Craig has been up to today in Indianapolis:
In one of the more bizarre moments I’ve seen, someone in the back of the pack asked Francona if the Red Sox would play Marco Scutaro at second and Dustin Pedroia at short. Francona responded with, “Why?” and the guy said because Pedroia might have better range.
That drew a how-do-you-respond-to-that type response, and when someone from MLB asked to see the reporter’s credentials, the guy mumbled and left the room. I honestly believe it was someone who just happened to wander into the room.
Craig assures me that it wasn’t him and we do have photographic evidence of his possessing a media credential, but I’m still skeptical.
I’ve been to a pair of winter meetings and my favorite aspect of the manager press conferences was always when Japanese writers joined the fray to ask about a player and the manager clearly was hearing the name for the first time. Ron Gardenhire once gave a five-minute answer to a female reporter that basically boiled down to, “Lots of Japanese players are good and we like good players.” She wrote the entire thing down.
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.