The White Sox are in a bit of a transitional period. And a lot of people assumed that the Cubs would try to make a play for Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols or something like that. Maybe it’s more likely that both teams will simply be sellers. Here’s Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:
According to sources, both the White Sox and Cubs are getting a lot of calls about their proven relievers, including closers Sergio Santos and Carlos Marmol. Seven teams are trying to fill a void at closer, and five of those (Red Sox, Blue Jays,Twins, Reds and Mets) are also looking for set-up men. While it would be painful to trade arms like Santos and Marmol, they could bring back multiple parts in trades. They are signed to contracts that could make them bargains.
Marmol had some meltdowns last year, but he’s still an excellent option for someone in the market. Santos, the converted infielder, saved 30 games last year and is uber-cheap.
Meanwhile, the Phillies paid $50 million+ for Jonathan Papelbon. Yeah, he’s better, but it’s not like he’s some piece of unobtainium.
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.