OK, that’s hyperbole, but how many baseball owners gave their teams $100 million out of their own pocket to cover operating losses? And how many wrote a check for $300,000 to keep the municipal pools open in a budget crunch while asking for no credit or acknowledgment? According to this in-depth profile of Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos by the Baltimore Sun, Angelos did. He has also stayed relatively hands-off when it comes to baseball decisions since he hired Andy MacPhail.
Of course, that comes after 15 years of micromanaging that seriously hamstrung the franchise, and all of that is there too, so it’s no whitewash. What it is: one of the more comprehensive takes on Angelos we’ve seen for a while, and one that makes the storyline of “cheap plaintiff’s lawyer buys proud organization, runs it into the ground” simplistic, even if there’s a lot of truth to it in the broad strokes.
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.