UPDATE: Good news for the Brewers, as Braun feels healthy enough to be back in the lineup tonight.
Ryan Braun had his fourth straight multi-hit game last night, going 2-for-5 with a homer in an extra-inning loss to the Giants, but exited in the 10th inning with a groin injury.
Asked afterward about his status, Braun wasn’t sure if he’d have to miss any starts and replied: “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Braub also told Jordan Schelling of MLB.com that this groin injury is similar to one he dealt with during spring training, except “it’s not as bad as it was then, so it’s not too serious.” He also missed one start earlier this month with a sore Achilles’ tendon, but has played 40 of a possible 42 games while hitting .333 with 12 homers and a 1.049 OPS that tops his MVP-winning .994 mark from last season.
Not bad for a guy who at one point was banned from playing the first 50 games.
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.