The Rangers tried to pry Andrelton Simmons away from the Braves

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In the same story that mentioned the Dodgers’ interest in Torii Hunter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today also noted that the Rangers recently tried to acquire shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the Braves.

Why would the Rangers do this? Well, general manager Jon Daniels isn’t interested in giving up either Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar in a trade for Diamondbacks’ outfielder Justin Upton, so the plan was to flip Simmons to Arizona. Interesting idea, but the Braves didn’t bite.

It’s not clear what the Rangers offered for Simmons, but Mike Olt’s name likely came up in conversations since the Braves could be in the market for a new third baseman following Chipper Jones’ retirement. So far the Diamondbacks have been reluctant to accept Olt as a centerpiece of a deal for Upton, instead preferring either Andrus or Profar. We heard last night that if the Rangers can’t find a match with the Diamondbacks, the Rays may be positioned as to emerge as front-runners.

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.