You know that friend you have who makes everything about them? How, no matter how attenuated their connection to something going on in the world, they filter it through their own experiences? Yeah, that’s this Joel Sherman column about the Red Sox-Dodgers trade:
But in the winner-loser here and now, it is hard to ignore that the biggest loser was not even directly involved in the trade finalized yesterday. The biggest loser is the New York Mets. Because the Mets could not get even enough health and production from Jason Bay and/or Johan Santana to make the kind of financial reset trade the Red Sox just did by unloading Beckett and Crawford, in particular.
Sherman goes on to slam the Mets, calling them “losers.” Losers because they couldn’t unload Bay and Santana. Losers because the Dodgers and Mets were both financial wrecks a few short months ago but now look at the Dodgers go. Losers because they are not “energizing the fan base” the way L.A. is and aren’t freeing up payroll like Boston is.
Which is insane. A salary-dump trade of this magnitude has never, ever happened in the history of baseball. The Mets were never for sale and the line of people willing to pay $2 billion and then absorb nearly $300 million in salaries is non-existent even if they were. And that’s before you note that the Mets had nothing like Adrian Gonzalez to throw into such a trade to make it worth the Dodgers’ while.
To rip the Mets for not doing what the Dodgers did here is cheap and silly. It’s like ripping your kid for not becoming the Dalai Lama. Sure, that kind of thing happens in the world, but it’s unfair in the extreme to suggest that there’s something wrong with him for not doing it.
But I guess there’s no hate like Mets hate, so this was probably inevitable.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.