As if losing third baseman David Freese for 8-12 weeks with a broken hand wasn’t enough bad news for St. Louis’ infield, the Cardinals announced that second baseman Skip Scumaker will be out 2-4 more weeks with his elbow injury.
Schumaker, who has already been on the disabled list for two weeks, took a cortisone injection Friday and told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that it “felt horrible.”
General manager John Mozeliak told Hummel that despite the Cardinals’ injury depleted roster they “don’t want to rush it” with Schumaker’s recovery and have not cleared him to hit or throw yet.
Nick Punto and Daniel Descalso have split time at second base in Schumaker’s absence, but with Punto sidelined by a hamstring injury of his own and Descalso drawing the start at third base last night in place of Freese the Cardinals used Tyler Greene at second base yesterday.
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.