Now that the Marlins have gotten older and worse by signing Garrett Jones, the smarter teams are coming out of the woodwork in pursuit of Logan Morrison. FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi says both the Pirates and Rays have had conversations regarding the first baseman.
John Perotto of the Beaver County Times reports that the Pirates and Marlins have talked about a 2-for-1 that would send the versatile Josh Harrison and a second player to Miami for Morrison. Ironically, that would essentially make Morrison the replacement for Jones in Pittsburgh.
What’s going on in the Rays’ talks isn’t as clear, though it was reported last week that the Marlins liked infielder-outfielder Sean Rodriguez. Either Harrison or Rodriguez could serve as a starting third baseman for Miami until 2013 first-round pick Colin Moran is ready.
The interesting sidenote here is that both the Pirates and Rays would likely prefer to sign James Loney to play first base than acquire Morrison. Loney, though, is currently asking for a three-year deal in the $20 million range. If Morrison does get traded to one of the teams, it could actually serve to bring down Loney’s price tag for the other.
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.