The Phillies swooned when they lost Jimmy Rollins to the DL earlier this year. Not saying there was a direct correlation or anything — what ailed them during the slump went beyond the absence of their shortstop — but the experience did nothing to give the team or its fans confidence that losing a starting infielder for an extended period is something you can just blow off. It stunk, really.
Now things doubly stink: the Phillies are placing both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco on the the DL.
Utley, as we noted earlier today, injured his right thumb sliding into second last night. He had an MRI earlier today. We don’t know how it went, but obviously it went bad enough to where the team feels he needs two weeks off. Polanco’s problems have been more chronic in nature: soreness and discomfort in his
elbow. He had a cortisone injection yesterday.
Greg Dobbs and Brian Bocock are going to be called up to replace Utley and Polanco. Not the fairest swap in the history of the world, but there you are.
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.