For players with job security, spring box scores usually mean very little. But for players auditioning for new roles, a quality stat line can mean everything.
Enter Ivan Nova.
According to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, the 24-year-old right-hander hurled six no-hit innings against the Orioles on Wednesday night in Tampa. He was on an 85-pitch limit, but he needed only 59 tosses to get through the outing and 41 of those throws went for strikes.
Nova struck out four and allowed only one baserunner via a first-inning hit by pitch. He faced 19 batters in all — one above the minimum.
The Yankees have kept a running competition this spring for the final two spots in their starting rotation and it took a while for the involved candidates to create separation. Nova is likely to capture the No. 4 spot for his stellar performance tonight and the success he has enjoyed all spring long. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon will continue to duke it out for the final opening. The injured Sergio Mitre can probably be ruled out.
This winter might have been rough on the Yanks, but their rotation is finally coming together and looking at least somewhat promising. CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett round out the top slots.
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.