Jon Heyman of SI.com speculated earlier this evening that despite Michael Young’s desire for a trade, he would still likely open spring training with the team.
Well, judging by Young’s comments to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News earlier tonight, the Rangers may have no choice but to deal him away.
“I’ve kept a low profile out of respect for the team, the coaching staff, my family and the fans because I didn’t want to put anybody on an unnecessary roller-coaster,” Young said in a brief phone conversation. “Now, I think it’s important to address the inaccurate portrayal that is being painted. The suggestion that I’ve simply had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth.”
“I want to be traded because I’ve been misled and manipulated and I’m sick of it,” Young added.
Young declined to provide any details of how he was misled or manipulated, but Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported earlier tonight that the Rangers were shopping him earlier this winter, but telling him otherwise.
There’s probably a certain segment of Rangers fans who will defend Young in this instance. That’s understandable. After all, he is the club’s all-time hit leader. But it’s still awfully difficult to feel sorry for someone who is going to get paid $48 million over the next three seasons, whether he plays third base or sits on the bench a couple days a week.
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.