Adam Dunn boasts one of the only legitimate power bats on the free agent market this winter and he should be able to cash in. But it sounds like he’s not going to be back with the Nationals, at least not at their current offer.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nats have had a three-year proposal on the table for three months. Dunn obviously has not accepted and Ladson suspects that the slugger is hoping for a contract of at least four years in length.
Dunn, 30, posted a .260/.356/.536 batting line and 38 home runs in 158 games for the Nats this season, collecting a team-high 105 RBI along the way. He’s not a good defensive first baseman, but every team is trying to improve offensively and Dunn would make a difference at the heart of any lineup.
The Cubs are known to have some level of interest but they won’t be alone in making bids.
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.