We’ve chronicled Dmitri Young’s comeback attempt for a couple of months now. Thanks to no longer eating like a viking, the 38-year-old has trimmed down pretty significantly in hopes of scoring a spring training invite. Well, after working out for the Phillies late last month, it appears he has another lead.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that Young will work out for the Pirates next week at the team’s spring training home in Bradenton, Florida. Pirates’ skipper Clint Hurdle is expected to be on hand for the occasion.
This is a pretty easy comeback story to root for, but the odds of him latching on with an MLB team are still pretty long, as Young hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2008 as a member of the Nationals. And though we’re working with a small sample here, “Da Meat Hook” batted just .167 (11-for-66) over 20 games before being released by his winter league team in Venezuela.
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.