We now know what Fernando Rodney has apparently known for over a week: he has a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Per Enrique Rojas of ESPN, it’s for $1.75M in 2012 with a $2.5M team option for 2013. If the option is not exercised, it’ll be a $250K buyout.
As D.J. mentioned last night, Rodney is basically the Dominican God of Walks. He has a 4.29 ERA and 87 career saves with a walk rate of 4.9 BB/9, which is not exactly what you like to see late in games. Just ask Tigers and Angles fans. Oh wait, you can’t. Because Rodney gave them all coronaries!
Ah, sorry. Rodney walks a tightrope. He has his uses, though. And the Rays will probably use him as a setup guy.
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.