Justin Timberlake makes everyone feel uncomfortable

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Well, not me. I loved Mark Grace’s interview with Justin Timberlake during the All-Star Game last night. It may have been more entertaining than the game, actually.

The MLBAM people have already had the video of it taken down from YouTube — and I have this feeling that neither Fox nor MLB.com will be featuring it at their websites today —  but you can get a full transcript over at Amazin’ Avenue. (UPDATE II: I was wrong! It’s at MLB.com. Apologies for suggesting that they’d Pravda-it out of history).

Everyone is talking about how Timberlake — be it sarcastically or drunkenly or both — “praised” Joe Buck’s announcing abilities multiple times.  But whether or not that was really a slam on Buck, I don’t think that was even the most awkward part of it.  No, I found the most awkward part of it was JT’s ode to beer and his praising of it as “the perfect food.”

Mark Grace: It’s a pretty good spot. Now you wanted ballpark food. Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, which one’s your favorite?

Justin Timberlake: My favorite? Just beer.

Mark Grace: Really? Beer! It’s kind of the perfect food.

Justin Timberlake: It goes with the hot dog, it goes with nachos, it goes with peanuts. Beer’s perfect. Beer never got mad at me because I didn’t call beer back.

Mark Grace: That’s a very good point. That is a very good point.

He said this, remember, to Mark Grace, who was busted for a DUI a month ago.  And on a broadcast which, about ten minutes before, had recounted the untimely death of Nick Adenhart at the hands of a drunk driver. Of course, given that the very first pitch of the game was sponsored by Budweiser, I guess mixed-messages involved with the relationship between alcohol and baseball are something with which Fox and MLB aren’t too uncomfortable.

I did feel kind of bad for Grace, though, whose lawyer probably doesn’t need him yukking it up with pop stars about the glories of beer at the moment.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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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.