Question: if ballpark deals are as obviously awesome and beneficial as everyone says, why do the people who support the Braves new ballpark deal feel the need to conduct push-polling and to write constituent letters that would make your average Ministry of Propaganda blush?
Jim Galloway of the AJC has the details of it all, including that telephone poll which actually spends more time advertising than it does questioning folks about their opinions. And a letter from a Cobb County commissioner to a constituent complaining of public money being spent on a ballpark which starts out with “Sorry that you are so upset about a fabulous economic development for our County that will not effect your property tax bill.”
Of course, the anti-stadium folks have their own campaigns too.
Anyway, this will all be fun to go back and look at in five years when the “Ballpark not the economic engine its backers promised” stories come out.
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.