The Mets are interested in Reed Johnson

1 Comment

A team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Mets have identified Reed Johnson “as a potential fit” for their bench.

Johnson, who turned 34 earlier this week, batted .262/.291/.366 with two home runs and 15 RBI over 202 at-bats with the Dodgers this past season. Alarmingly, he drew only five walks all season and struck out 55 times, or in 24.8 percent of his at-bats. He has a .281/.340/.408 career batting line, including a .312 batting average and 836 OPS against left-handed pitching.

The Mets don’t have much wiggle room with their payroll this winter, but it would be smart to add some insurance for Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay. At the very least, Johnson has the reputation as a fine defender, and would likely come at a lesser cost than some of the alternatives in free agency, including Fred Lewis and Scott Hairston.

By the way, new Mets general manager Sandy Alderson hosted a conference call with a number of prominent Mets’ bloggers earlier this evening. MetsBlog has a number of interesting quotes from the call. Look forward to more of these in the future. And Mr. Alderson, invite me next time!

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

Getty Images
10 Comments

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.