I haven’t checked in with the NFL reporters and PR men since Thursday night. I hope they’ve gotten over the tragedy visited upon them by the Orioles insisting on playing their home game as scheduled, but from the sturm und drang about it all I feel like they still might be working their way through the stages of grief.
They better get over it soon, though, because they only have a couple of weeks to get worked up about it anew. Seems that an Oakland A’s home playoff game on October 6th could force the Raiders to swap home dates with the Chargers. The NFL’s official position:
“We monitor the baseball playoff situation every year,” a league spokesman said. “If there is any change to our schedule, we would announce it at the appropriate time.”
But I presume they’ll first want to start a media campaign asking the A’s to “do the right thing” and tank its remaining games, miss the playoffs and thereby avoid interrupting a more popular and financially-successful sport.
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.