After signing Scott Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract today, Angels general manager Tony Reagins told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that he is done with his bullpen.
“Right now, we’re very satisfied with the starting pitching we have and with the bullpen we have. Now, it’s on to see what other opportunities come up.”
Many considered the Angels the favorites to land closer Rafael Soriano this winter, but after committing $33 million to Downs and Hisanori Takahashi, they will now look to upgrade in other areas.
As for who will close for the Angels next season, Mike Scioscia said Downs would likely be part of a committee with Fernando Rodney, Kevin Jepsen and Jordan Walden.
“If we need one or two guys at times to get the last out, we’re going to do it but I don’t think the committee’s going to be very large,” Scioscia said.
Though he wasn’t mentioned as part of the potential committee, Takahashi went 8-for-8 in save opportunities with the Mets this past season.
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.