Joel Sherman reports. One year deal. Sherman says it’s for that last $2 million that Johnny Damon couldn’t stoop to take.
I suppose there are ways the Yankees could rub Johnny Damon and Scott Boras’ face in it more than they already have today, but I’m struggling to imagine how. Signing Canseco, maybe? Ruben Rivera? Ronan Tynan?
As for Winn, he had 790 OPSs and played good right field defense in 2007 and 2008, but fell all of
the way to .262/.318/.353 last season. What’s worse is that while he’s a switch hitter, he hit.158/.184/.200 in 125 plate appearances vs lefties last year, which is the single worst split since at least 1954 (Retrosheet doesn’t have data before then) (thanks to Jay Jaffe for that tidbit).
Ultimately Winn is a bench player who could back up Nick Swisher and whoever gets the left field job (though if he brings anything different to the table than does Brett Gardner I’m struggling to see what it is). He’s also taking up the last Yankee roster spot into which Johnny Damon could have dreamed of falling. UPDATE: Wow, even Heyman has written Damon off.
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.