You’d think that a guy who has been portrayed as not being able to handle a lot of distractions wouldn’t want to be in the business of handling his own business affairs as he enters his final season before free agency. But more so than the social anxiety stuff, Zack Greinke has been defined by the fact that he just does his own thing.
That thing now: going without an agent. A season away from free agency.
Jerry Crasnick has his story over at ESPN.com today. It doesn’t sound like Greinke is going to pull a full-on Gary Sheffield and negotiate his own deal — Greinke says “we’ll see how long it lasts” — but he’s certainly doing things differently than most in his situation do.
To be honest, I’d think that the contract negotiation stuff would be less of a hassle than the day-to-day work of an agent, much of which Crasnick explains in his story. Side business deals. Endorsements if Greinke does any. Random licensing stuff. Seems like it would be a pain.
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.