Dale Sveum seemed to know he was a goner as soon as team president Theo Epstein declined to comment on whether he’d be back for the final season of his contract in 2014 and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cubs have fired Sveum.
Sveum lasted two years with the Cubs, going 61-101 last season and 66-96 this season. Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer repeatedly stressed that the team’s record would not play a large factor in Sveum’s status, but in addition to all the losing there were also questions about how he dealt with young players and specifically shortstop Starlin Castro.
Ron Gardenhire is off the managerial market, re-signing with the Twins, but there’s been some speculation that the Cubs could make a run at Joe Girardi if he decides not to remain with the Yankees.
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.