Scott Sizemore was an apparently healthy scratch from Triple-A Toledo’s lineup on Monday night, suggesting that the Tigers are ready to give last year’s Opening Day second baseman another opportunity.
The 26-year-old Sizemore was off to a torrid start for the Mud Hens, having hit .408/.495/.605 with two homers, 15 RBI and three steals in 23 games.
With Carlos Guillen still on the mend from knee surgery, the Tigers went with Will Rhymes as their primary second baseman to begin this season. Rhymes, though, has hit just .221/.321/.235 with two RBI in 68 at-bats. His struggles had led to Ryan Raburn getting more time at his old position, but the Tigers much prefer Raburn in left field. On Monday, it was veteran utilityman Ramon Santiago who got the call at second base.
Rhymes’ absence suggests that he’ll be sent down to make room for Sizemore. There’s been nothing to indicate that Guillen will return anytime soon, so Sizemore should have the entire month of May to prove he belongs. Possessing considerably more offensive potential than Rhymes, he’s the Tigers’ one internal option capable of stepping up and becoming the team’s long-term second baseman.
Update (10:50 p.m. EDT) – The Tigers confirmed the news after Monday’s loss to the Yankees, announcing that they’d recall Sizemore and demote Rhymes prior to Tuesday’s game.
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.