The Rangers’ third base situation worked itself out in a sad way when they placed the hot-hitting Kevin Kouzmanoff on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his back, and activated Adrian Beltre from the 15-day DL. Beltre was dealing with a strained left quadriceps and missed the minimum amount of time. The news comes from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Kouzmanoff hadn’t played in the Majors since 2011, but came out of the gate on fire for the Rangers, replacing the injured Beltre. In 51 trips to the plate, Kouzmanoff slashed .362/.412/.617 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. Leading up to his injury, Beltre was slashing .286/.394/.393.
Beltre is in Friday night’s lineup against the Mariners, batting third and playing third.
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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.