No one traded at this point in the season is eligible for the playoffs, but that apparently didn’t stop the Red Sox from calling the Mets in search of rotation help.
According to John Thomase of the Boston Herald the Red Sox wanted to acquire veteran left-hander Chris Capuano in time to make Sunday’s start against the Yankees, but the Mets turned down their cash offer for the impending free agent.
And right now John Lackey is in line to make the crucial start at Yankee Stadium.
After missing all of 2008 and 2009 with injuries Capuano got healthy and proved he was still effective for the Brewers last season and then signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Mets, logging 175 innings with a 4.47 ERA and 155/50 K/BB ratio.
He probably isn’t someone the Red Sox will pursue as a free agent this winter, but opening their wallet in an effort to ensure Lackey doesn’t take the mound again in 2011 wasn’t a bad try.
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.