Jose Molina is one of the slowest runners in baseball history, so when the 38-year-old Rays catcher scored the go-ahead run from second base on a single to center field yesterday it led to some amusing quotes in the clubhouse afterward.
First, here’s Molina:
I just said that as soon as he hit the ball I’ve got to try to score, pretty much that’s the way it was. I took my lead really good and gave everything I had–I guess it’s not that much–but I give everything and to try to slide and avoid the tag and I did, and scored a big run for us.I think I did one of those “Matrix” moves and he didn’t tag me.
And here’s manager Joe Maddon:
As he went by, the vortex almost like pulled me into his jet stream as he was running toward home plate, and eventually he was safe. I jumped out of the dugout, everything slowed down, slow motion, and the umpire went, “Safe.” So it was a good play.
One day if Molina ever decides to write his life story “Matrix moves, vortexes, and jet steams” wouldn’t be a bad choice for the title.
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.