In the least shocking bit of news you’ll hear this week, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will send ace Adam Wainwright to the mound to start Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
Wainwright has been nothing short of excellent for the Cardinals, dating all the way back to 2006. In 55.2 innings of work in the playoffs, Waino has a 2.10 ERA with 62 strikeouts and seven walks. During the 2013 post-season, he has gone at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs in all three starts.
While it would have been fun to see, there was no chance that 22-year-old phenom Michael Wacha would have gotten the nod in Game 1 despite being the Cardinals’ best pitcher throughout the 2013 playoffs, statistically speaking. In 21 innings over three starts, Wacha has a 0.43 ERA with 22 strikeouts and four walks.
The Red Sox have not announced their Game 1 starter yet, but it is expected to be lefty Jon Lester, who started Game 1 both in the ALDS against the Rays and in the ALCS against the Tigers.
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.