Dodgers hire former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker

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Flexing their financial muscle once again, the Dodgers lured Gerry Hunsicker away from the Rays on Thursday, naming the former Astros GM their senior advisor for baseball operations.

That would seem to make Hunsicker the No. 2 man in the Dodgers front office behind general manager Ned Colletti. He’s expected to work primarily in scouting and development.

“Gerry brings a wealth of senior level experience and knowledge that will assist baseball operations at all levels,” Colletti said.

Hunsicker was the Astros’ GM during the most successful run in franchise history, making the postseason five times in nine years before he stepped down in 2004. He joined the Rays as a senior vice president after the 2005 season.

Hunsicker said Friday that he will “forever cherish” his time with the Rays, but that he felt “it was time to for another challenge.”

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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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.