Arizona’s season can get worse, it turns out: Now stud pitching prospect Archie Bradley, who seemed to be on the verge of arriving in the majors, has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with flexor strain in his elbow.
Officially the Diamondbacks are calling Bradley’s injury a “minor” strain, but the hard-throwing right-hander struggled for three straight starts before being shut down, allowing 12 runs in 12 innings while walking eight.
Bradley was the seventh overall pick in the 2011 draft and ranked as a consensus top-25 prospect in each of the past three seasons. Last season, at age 20, he threw 152 innings with a 1.84 ERA between Single-A and Double-A. But now general manager Kevin Towers won’t have to answer questions about why Bradley isn’t in the majors for a while.
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.