In need some of some rotation depth with Tim Hudson out for the season and Brandon Beachy possibly joining him on the disabled list, the Braves have acquired veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia from the Orioles for cash considerations.
Garcia got knocked around for a 5.77 ERA in 53 innings for the Orioles before accepting a demotion to Triple-A in June. He’s pitched well for Norfolk with a 2.84 ERA and 61/15 K/BB ratio in 13 starts, but at this point Garcia is purely a fallback plan. He throws in the mid-80s and serves up way too many homers, but he’s 36 years old with 15 seasons of experience and a fallback plan is what the Braves needed.
For now he’ll stay at Triple-A, moving from Norfolk to Gwinnett.
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.