From CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler comes word that the Rays and Marlins are close to a trade that will send shortstop Yunel Escobar to Tampa Bay in exchange for infield prospect Derek Dietrich.
Escobar was acquired by the Marlins as part of last month’s blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, but Miami never really planned on opening the season with him on their active roster. The 30-year-old native of Cuba even told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he did not feel wanted.
Escobar batted just .253/.300/.344 in 145 games this past season for Toronto, but he was much better in 2011 and had a fantastic 2009 season with the Braves. If the Rays can get him to focus, it could work out.
Dietrich, a former second-round draft selection out of Georgia Tech, hit .279/.338/.457 with 14 home runs and 75 RBI in 132 games this summer between High-A Charlottle and Double-A Montgomery. He’s 23 years old.
UPDATE, 11:04 PM: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the trade has been completed.
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.