At least one person is optimistic about Johan Santana’s health status, as manager Terry Collins told reporters this morning that “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready” to start on Opening Day.
That came after Santana threw another bullpen session and reported no problems, although he still has a long way to go after missing all of last season following 2010 shoulder surgery.
For now the Mets are planning to have Santana throw every five days throughout spring training, so he’ll need to avoid plenty of setbacks before a Game 1 start becomes a realistic possibility. Near the end of last season Santana appeared in multiple minor-league games with an eye on rejoining the Mets’ rotation for a handful of starts, only to be shut down again.
I’d set the over/under for Santana starts this season at around 20.
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.