I just spoke with my buddy Norm Wamer at 106.5 The Ticket in Toledo. Norm tells me that he was on a conference call with Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski this morning, talking about the Jhonny Peralta signing. During the call someone asked him, basically, what’s next? The response was that they were looking at the middle of the lineup. Dombrowski was coy, but the reporters tried to get some hints by asking him what position they were looking to fill. When Dombrowski wouldn’t say, they asked him if it would be someone they’d consider asking to DH. Dombrowski dodged the question.
Take all of this second hand kind of stuff for what it’s worth, but you’d figure that if Dombrowski had his sights set on someone like Carl Crawford he’d say no, we’re looking at the outfield, wouldn’t you? Of course, it’s also possible that Dombrowski just doesn’t want anyone to know who he’s targeting — smart, even! — but the reporters on the phone call came away thinking that Dombrowski’s responses suggested that he’s looking at Adam Dunn or Victor Martinez. Both of whom are guys who could spend a lot of time at DH in Detroit but who might not want to. And might certainly not want to hear it from a team that’s courting them.
But don’t take my hearsay at face value. Norm is going to have Dombrowski’s comments on his show at around 3:30, and you can hear it streaming here.
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.