Damon: "The Yankees haven't made an offer"

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Johnny Damon, walking back the rumors from the weekend:

“My friends and family are calling to tell me about this offer and what
I want and it’s all wrong.  The Yankees
haven’t made an offer and I haven’t told them what I want. Everything
else is not true. Two years, four years, all that happens when Scott talks to the
Yankees. That comes later but we haven’t had any talks
at all. I don’t know where all this stuff came from.”

Maybe it’s lawyerly withdrawal setting in, but I think that this statement is deviously consistent with what was reported over the weekend.  Let’s parse:

“The Yankees haven’t made an offer . . .”  Well, that doesn’t contradict any of the business from over the weekend, because according to the previous report, Boras told them not to bother.

“I haven’t told them what I want.”  I guess there are a couple of cute ways to handle this: (a) “I haven’t told them what I, you know, really want, I just told them the lowest possible place they had best start the bidding; or (b) “I haven’t told them what I want, my agent has.”

Yes, I know I’m reading way too much into those statements. Johnny Damon is a number of wonderful things, but a master of obfuscatory syntax is probably not one of them. And it’s not like this is a legal proceeding. There’s no need to stretch to reconcile contradictory reports. If Damon or his agent say one thing on one day and another thing on another, no one is really gonna squawk.

No, in reality this is probably just a case of Damon playing good cop to Scott Boras’ bad cop in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative response to his reported demands and to set it up nicely for him to accept the Yankees’ two-year offer without having to admit that he caved in the face of the team’s superior leverage.

But hey, we’re entering the slowest time of the entire annual baseball news cycle, so this sort of flyspecking is to be expected.

Report: Padres trade Matt Kemp to the Braves for Hector Olivera

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 06:  Matt Kemp #27 of the San Diego Padres talks in the dugout prior to the start of the game against the Atlanta Braves at PETCO Park on June 6, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images
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Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.

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ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.

Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.

Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.