Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners have signed right-hander Jon Garland to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. This confirms a report by ESPN’s Jason Churchill.
Garland is set to take a physical next week at the team’s complex in Peoria, Arizona. That’s a formality most of the time, but it’s worth mentioning in his case, as the Indians canceled a minor league deal with Garland last spring after he didn’t take his physical. The 33-year-old right-hander didn’t end up pitching at all last year.
Garland had a 4.33 ERA over nine starts with the Dodgers in 2011 prior to undergoing rotator cuff surgery. He’s probably a long shot candidate to contribute with the Mariners this season, but you can’t go wrong on a minor league deal.
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.