Yasiel Puig does this so often. In the space of a couple of innings showing us everything that’s wonderful about him and showing us everything that he still has to learn.
Watch as, first, he fires a missile back to first base, nearly picking off Erick Aybar who had strayed too far off the bag on a fly to center. That’s what’s great. His aggressiveness and that arm which, occasionally, is going to make someone pay.
Then watch as he takes a mental break on another fly ball, allowing an alert and savvy Albert Pujols to tag up from first and go to second right in front of him despite the fact that he has walked and ran like Fred Sanford for about three or four years now.
Bonus: the Dikembe Mutumbo-style finger wag from Puig on the good play, and the “you got a lot to learn, son” head shaking from Pujols on the latter play. And of course, Vin Scully being on hand to describe it all.
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.