One day after saying he needed to get his head out of his butt Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he’d be willing to serve as a setup man if traded to “good teams like the Yankees or the Rays.”
Here’s more from Rodriguez, who’s 20-for-23 converting saves with a 3.25 ERA:
If I am going to be traded, obviously I want the opportunity to close out games, but if it’s going to be good teams like the Yankees or the Rays, and it’s going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out. I mean I would definitely love to stay here, but I have to be open to every possibility out there right now.
Complicating matters is that Rodriguez has a $17 million option for 2012 that vests with 55 games finished and he already has 28. Moving into a setup role would end that possibility and Rodriguez indicated previously he’d be willing to waive the 2012 option if the team trading for him wanted to work out a new multi-year deal.
It’s tough to see the Rays making a strong run at Rodriguez when he’s paid about as much in a month than their whole bullpen earns in a season and they’re also not short on young arms in the minors, but with Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain hurt he’d seemingly be an intriguing option setting up Mariano Rivera for the Yankees.
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.