The Yankees have been ousted from the postseason, but the saga of Alex Rodriguez continues.
Rodriguez told Peter Botte of the New York Daily News after today’s loss to the Tigers that he has no plans to waive his no-trade clause and intends to return to the Yankees next season.
“That’s correct. I will be back. I have a lot to prove.”
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported this morning that while Rodriguez wouldn’t request a trade, he also wouldn’t stand in the way of a deal to another large-market team. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported this afternoon that the Marlins and Dodgers “thus far seem far less than anxious to acquire” Rodriguez. Of course, a lot can change over the course of the offseason and we’re just getting started.
After posting a career-low .783 OPS in 122 games during the regular season, Rodriguez went 3-for-25 (.120) with 12 strikeouts during the postseason and lost playing time and at-bats to the likes of Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez. The 37-year-old is still owed $114 million over the next five seasons, so the Yankees would likely have to cover a significant portion of his contract in order to make a deal feasible.
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.