Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter allowed four earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. It was his second minor league rehab start and he looked even worse than he did in his rough debut last week at Double-A Springfield.
Carpenter spoke to reporters — including Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — right after Saturday’s outing and acknowledged a feeling of disappointment about his lack of effectiveness:
“I have a long way to go before I can get outs up there,” Carpenter said. “If I can’t get outs down here, never mind getting outs up there. I didn’t feel like I was as sharp as I needed to be or should have been. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
It’s not fair to the ballclub. It’s not fair to our team. It’s not fair to our fans. The name on my shirt and whatever I’ve done in the past doesn’t give me a free pass to go out and take somebody’s job up there. If I’m not going to help, I’m not to go up there and embarrass myself. I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve got to get sharper — bottom line.”
Carpenter has experienced no shoulder discomfort and his fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph, but his stuff overall has not been sharp. 10 of the last 14 hitters he faced on Saturday night reached base.
Joe Kelly will continue acting as St. Louis’ fifth starter. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha are options.
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.