I was sorta surprised when the Braves cut Freddy Garcia, seeing as though they were down a couple of arms and Garcia had pitched pretty competently this spring. Then Aaron Harang took his place and has been pretty fantastic so far, so what the hell do I know?
And that question is doubly apt given that, apparently, the rest of Major League Baseball is giving a miss to Garcia. Chris Cotillo reports:
Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia is close to signing with an undisclosed team in Asia, according to major league sources. It is currently unclear which country the 37-year old will be heading to, but it appears as though he will be leaving the U.S. after being released by the Braves at the end of spring training.
Garcia said that he wanted to start, so this may be the only opportunity he has to start someplace. Or the money may be great.
Or, though Garcia said after his release that he was eager to spend some time with his wife and newborn baby, maybe he realized a month later what all of us parents figured out the hard way: being around newborns is a special circle of hell and if someone gave us the opportunity to leave the continent for the few months between their birth and the time they’re sleeping through the night, well, we’d all take it too.
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.