Bobby Valentine wasn’t the only noteworthy guest for David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. Tim Wakefield was also in attendance for the event and told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he has a “strong desire to pitch one more year for the Red Sox.”
Wakefield, who turned 45 in August, has been with Boston since 1995. He went 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA and 93/47 K/BB ratio over 154 2/3 innings this season. Though it took him nine tries, he finally got his 200th career win while the Red Sox were in the middle of their September collapse.
Wakefield has an ugly 5.22 ERA over the past two seasons, so it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox would give him a rotation spot, but they could bring him back as a long man out of the bullpen. While his agent Barry Meister said last month that it would be a “shame” if the veteran knuckleballer didn’t finish his career with Boston, Wakefield acknowledged yesterday that a move to the National League could be a possibility.
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.