Dino Laurenzi Jr. is the man we’ve come to call “the collector” in the Ryan Braun case. He defended himself the other day following Ryan Braun’s sharp criticism of him at his press conference. Now Braun’s attorney, David Cornwell, has issued a statement defending Braun from the defense:
“Ryan Braun presented a winning defense in the forum that counted. The collector’s attempt to re-litigate his conduct is inappropriate. The landmark decision in Ryan’s favor was based on the evidence & the plain meaning of the words in baseball’s Joint Drug Program. Both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association should be applauded because their Joint Program worked.”
Again, as we’ve said a number of times, both Braun — as the accused — and Laurenzi — whose conduct, whatever he may say about it or what we may think of it, was determined to not have adhered to the Joint Drug Agreement by the aribitrator — are interested parties here. Each has something to lose if their conduct is cast in a bad light. As such, these competing statements, while interesting, do little to get us to any absolute truth here.
Absent further details about the specific reasons why the abritrator ruled the way he did, we’re no further ahead in substantive knowledge here. It’s just people taking swipes at one another.
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.