Some pretty significant news to pass along on this Christmas Eve afternoon.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “all signs and top MLB sources” say that the Athletics will be granted permission by February to move to San Jose.
Of course, the A’s efforts to move have been stonewalled since 2009 so that a Bud Selig-appointed committee could study the matter. The Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and have been reluctant to give them up until now.
While Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported last month that Selig planned to address the issue with the Giants within two weeks, he reported last night that the meeting has yet to take place. However, Nightengale indicates that the matter may be put up to a vote among MLB owners.
The Athletics are in the midst of their latest rebuilding effort, trading Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez for prospects over the past couple of weeks. The club has already purchased land in San Jose and co-owner Lew Wolff has indicated that a new ballpark could be open for business within 30-36 months once they are given approval by MLB.
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.