Last night was Friday, the 13th of September, considered to be an unlucky day among the superstitious. For the uninitiated, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully took time in between game action to bring us up to speed on the history of the day, discussing its origin, differences among other cultures, and he even dropped in a Tupac Shakur reference.
People tend to go a little overboard when they hail Scully as the best broadcaster in the business, but last night was yet another reminder that, indeed, Scully is the best broadcaster in the business.
Friday the 13th did happen to be bad news for the Dodgers, who lost behind future 2013 NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw, who allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings, allowing eight hits and walking none while striking out six.
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.