Dusty Baker was fired by the Reds today with one season and $3 million remaining on his contract, which led to speculation that he might decide to take a year off before going after a new gig in 2015.
However, in speaking to the Cincinnati media this afternoon Baker said: “I’m not retiring. I’m not taking a year off unless I’m forced to.”
Baker also confirmed Jon Heyman’s report on CBSSports.com that he balked at general manager Walt Jocketty wanting to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby, telling C. Trent Rosencraus of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
We talked about Brook about a week ago, and they were talking about replacing him and I didn’t think that was right. All the coaches get blamed for everything. Maybe it was time to go. I did say something like that–and they did it. It wasn’t a mutual thing. There’s probably some other things in there, some things that were said or didn’t get said, stuff that was done over the years and then they said we didn’t have much motivation and spunk over the last week–but our pitching was bad and we didn’t hit.
Baker has repeatedly indicated that he thinks the front office should have added more help at the trade deadline, which probably didn’t set very well with Jocketty either.
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.