According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees gave the White Sox’s Alex Rios a long look, only to later move on to Alfonso Soriano. The reason:
Rios, though, refuted that he gave anyone any indication that a trade to the Yankees was off the table. “He should get his facts right because it puts me in a bad spot,” Rios told CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. “I was never asked about that. I don’t know where he’s getting his insights.”
With the White Sox going nowhere fast, Rios makes sense as a trade target for a team looking for an outfielder. The 32-year-old has hit .276/.330/.437 with 12 homers and 21 steals this season, and he’s under contract for a perfectly acceptable $12.5 million next year, with a $13.5 million team option or a $1 million buyout for 2015. According to Hayes, the Pirates and Rangers have also been linked to him.
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.