Comment of the Day: Manny Ramirez is no destructive force

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Today’s post about Manny Ramirez brought forth a handful of “who would want that guy bringing their team down” comments. And one comment, by reader bobr, wondering what on Earth those people are complaining about:

I wonder which example of his destructive influence you are basing
this statement on. Might it be the 11 post-seasons his teams have played
in? Or the 2 World Series championships his teams won? Or his
post-season performance to a 937 OPS?

Maybe you are thinking about the way he ruined the Dodgers in 2008
when he joined them mid-season and helped lead them to the post-season
by posting a 1232 OPS and helping them finish a 17-8 September run that
put them over the top. Or his contributions to the Dodgers winning the
division title again the following year.

I am curious to know which teams he has driven “down the tubes”
because of the “circus” that accompanies him. I can certainly understand
questions about what he has left at his age and given his injuries, but
as for his dire influence on teams he plays for, I see no compelling
evidence he has ever injured their chances to win and plenty to indicate
he was a major factor in their excellence.

Manny can be a handful, no question about it. But my sense is that, at this point in his career, his age and uncertain production are a way bigger risk than his antics.

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.