New York columnist clutches his pearls over Matt Harvey giving the finger in a picture

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Yesterday Matt Harvey tweeted a picture of himself, in a hospital bed, giving the finger to the camera just before being wheeled in for Tommy John surgery last year.  After he tweeted it he took it down because someone from the Mets told him to take it down. That’s not too big a deal, of course. I censor myself online sometimes because I have an employer and I represent them as well as myself. So does Harvey. When you do that you honor their reasonable wishes when they are expressed. No harm, no foul. It’s simple drama avoidance, and I’d be shocked if anyone at the Mets gave it a second thought after Harvey took it down.

Of course the picture itself is no big deal. Indeed, the “we wish you wouldn’t do that” from his employer notwithstanding, it was kinda funny. His mom took it, apparently. It’s like any number of family pictures floating around my and my parents’ house. I’m guessing a lot of you have pictures like that too. If you can’t joke around with your parents and/or your adult children like that, God, who wants to know you?

Apparently Anthony Rieber of Newsday does. Indeed, he is shocked and appalled about a grown man joking around with his mom like that. It’s not what Derek Jeter or David Wright would do. Seriously, he actually said that:

Remember that time Derek Jeter posted something offensive on Twitter and then decided to take down his account after the Yankees asked him to delete the post?

No? How about that time David Wright did it?

Still no? . . .The problem is that it seems to keep being Harvey who is involved in these little dustups. Not Jeter, whom Harvey said he wants to emulate. Not Wright, who is as positive a role model as New York sports has ever had.

And after that Rieber goes into serious fainting couch/pearl-clutching territory, suggesting that the picture was R-rated and actually using a shocked exclamation point when he noted that Harvey’s mother took the picture. Like this (!).  When he quotes Harvey, who said that there was nothing wrong with the picture, Rieber says “Sorry, but there was.” With what I presume to be a straight face. He then uses a tattling tone to note that the middle finger pic was still up at Harvey’s Instagram account.

Newsday’s little bio of Rieber says he’s been working there since 1998. How one can cover news in New York City for 16 years and still find a way to be shocked at a grown man giving the middle finger is either a testament to how seldom Rieber leaves his house or how utterly disingenuous his shock and disgust at Harvey is here.

Either way, he should be far more embarrassed by that column than Harvey should be about anything he’s done since making the big leagues.

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.