Hideo Nomo, Kazuhiro Sasaki elected to Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame

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Hiedo Nomo may have only received six votes for the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame, but the Japan Times reports that he is a first-ballot inductee to Japan’s Hall of Fame. Joining him is fellow-former U.S. big leaguer Kazuhiro Sasaki and outfielder Koji Akiyama.

Being a first-ballot inductee is quite rare in Japan. Nomo becomes only the third player in history to do it. The other two were Sadaharu Oh and Victor Starffin. Everyone knows who Oh is, but I had no idea who Victor Starffin was until a few minutes ago. I Googled him because, obviously, it’s not a Japanese name. He has a pretty neat story that you should go read. If you don’t bother, at least know that he was Japan’s first 300-game winner.

Anyway, congratulations Hideo Nomo, Kaz Sasaki and Koji Akiyama.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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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.