Here’s what went down over the past 48 hours:
- The Yankees are talking to Andruw Jones. Say what you will about the Yankees offseason thus far, but if they lose this one to the Phillies for less money, it’s gonna really hurt.
- Frank McCourt went to New York to plead with Major League Baseball to help him out in keeping the Dodgers. I picture Selig in his office talking to his consigliere and saying “do I have to see him?” not unlike Don Corleone before Luca Brasi came in during Connie’s wedding.
- Meanwhile Joe Torre was likewise petitioning MLB , in his case for Sandy Alderson’s old gig as an advisor to Selig. They should have hired him on the spot and made it his first task to give McCourt the bum’s rush out of the MLB offices.
- The Mets want another starter, but won’t pay much for one. This is totally shocking.
- We can make fun of the Chicago Sun-Times for mixing up pictures of Matt Garza and Joaquin Benoit, but I sorta live in fear of doing this myself.
- The Yankees are still thinking about Rafael Soriano. If form holds, there will be a report discounting any Yankee interest in him in 3 … 2 … 1 …
- The Rangers tried to get Matt Garza before the Cubs did. Or maybe it was Joaquin Benoit. We’re not entirely sure.
- I hate this world sometimes. I truly hate it.
- I kinda feel bad that Luis Castillo is always lumped into stories with Oliver Perez. I mean, no, he didn’t earn his contract either, but they are light years apart in terms of magnitude of suckitude.
- Here’s hoping Tony Gwynn gets better soon.
- My wife got me “Bull Durham” on DVD for Christmas, so now I can study the subject of baseball groupies much more closely. Pfun Pfact: the woman who played Millie is married to Tom Lennon from “The State” and “Reno: 911.” I just thought that was weird and that you should know about it.
And now on with our scheduled week.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.