We noted yesterday that Matt Kemp’s shoulder surgery was a success — all surgery on athletes is a success — but the post-op news from L.A. is not all good. Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times reports that Kemp’s shoulder was more damaged than first thought, and there is a chance that he will not be at full-strength to start the 2013 season:
He and the Dodgers were hoping the damage would be relatively minor and require nothing more than a cleanup, but Dr. Neal ElAttrache decided the labrum had to be repaired — that is, reattached to the socket.
While the team’s statement said he’d be good to go come spring, Hernandez notes that Adrian Gonzalez had that same surgery in October 2010 and that he was limited to 11 spring training games in 2011 and started off slowly, power wise, that season. The good news, of course, is that he ended up being OK as the season wore on.
No sense in worrying too much about Kemp now, but keep that all in your back pocket for when February rolls around.
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.