I had missed this until earlier today but apparently Aroldis Chapman threw a couple pitches at Nick Swisher late in yesterday’s Reds-Indians game. They were likely inside on purpose and Swisher and Chapman stared each other down over it.
Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton, however, took it to the next level, saying the sorts of things that normally get players fined if they say it:
“What you’d love to see Swisher do here is knock it right off the temple of Chapman and see how much fun it is to have a ball coming at your head,” Hamilton said. “That is bush league.”
Later, Hamilton predicted the Indians would retaliate during the series, which moves to Cleveland for two games on Wednesday and Thursday.
“You just can’t be throwing at people’s heads,” Hamilton said. “The first one may have gotten away, the second one did not. And there are three more games to go with the Reds. This isn’t over yet.
“I’ll guarantee you one thing: (manager Terry) Francona will make sure that this is settled on the field.”
Hamilton is not a player, of course, so he can say whatever he wants and/or whatever his employer allows. And I agree with him that throwing at a player’s head is serious business. But it does seem a bit much for a broadcaster to be basically asking for revenge to be paid, does it not?
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.