Should the Mets let Jose Reyes walk? Should they trade him at the deadline? Or should they just go in the other direction and keep Reyes and try to unload David Wright? Such a hard set of decisions!
Or maybe not, because after reading Ken Rosenthal’s latest, I’m having a hard time disagreeing with him: the Mets should try hard to sign Reyes and keep Wright.
The logic is pretty simple: Reyes is better than any shortstop that Mets are going to be able to replace him with and, assuming Fred Wilpon doesn’t go with a super austerity plan, he can be had. Meanwhile, after figuring out which teams would be interested in acquiring David Wright, Rosenthal makes a pretty reasonable statement: “The entire discussion is ridiculous. If so many teams could use Wright, then maybe, just maybe, the Mets could use him, too.”
If Fred Wilpon declares a fire sale, sure, all bets are off. But Rosenthal is right: if the Mets are merely going to bring payroll down to the $100-120 million range, it’s totally possible for them to keep both Reyes and Wright and makes a great deal of baseball sense to do so.
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.