Delmon Young is back from his seven-day suspension and to make room for his return to the roster the Tigers designated Brad Eldred for assignment.
Eldred was called up last week after absolutely destroying Triple-A pitching and manager Jim Leyland talked about “running him out there” to see if he could provide some power, but he’s a 31-year-old journeyman with a sub par track record in the majors and obviously the Tigers weren’t exactly committed to giving him an extended look.
Leyland has already said that Young won’t immediately rejoin the starting lineup because he hasn’t been with the team in a week and the manager first wants him to get some practice reps. And of course Young was also hitting just .242 with a .644 OPS in 18 games before being arrested in New York last Thursday night/Friday morning on assault and hate crime charges.
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.