Chan Ho Park: "Philadelphia was the No. 1 choice"

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Almost immediately after it was announced that the Yankees had signed Chan Ho Park for $1.2 million, Phillies fans went crazy, wondering why one of the only truly effective relievers they had last year was able to get away so cheaply and easily. Park says it was all on the Phillies:

“I had a wish after the season. Philadelphia was the No. 1
choice. I had a tough time leaving there. I had much support from fans
and community, and I had the best teammates there, so -” . . . Asked why negotiations with the Phillies failed, Park said: “Too late.
Too late. Too late. It didn’t work well in the beginning, and later on,
too late. . . . They were talking, and it didn’t work. Trying to get a
deal, and it didn’t work out. And then later on they just gave up, and
I lost.”

The article goes on to note that Park was disappointed in Charlie Manuel making oblique jabs at Park’s toughness, saying when the team signed Danys Baez and Jose Contreras that they were pitchers who would never refuse to take the ball.

What the article doesn’t note — and what was rumored early in the offseason — is that Park was (a) telling the Phillies that he wanted to start; and (b) telling the Phillies that he wanted a lot more money than he ended up getting from the Yankees, so it’s probably worth taking the “why in the hell didn’t Amaro re-sign Park” stuff you hear from your pfriends in Philly with a grain of salt.

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.