If, before last night, I had found a genie in a bottle who granted me three wishes, I would have at least considered using one of them to see Adam Dunn pitch. I mean, once you’re rich and have ensured long and healthy lives for yourself and your family, what better is there to do with the third one? World peace? Eh, let the next guy wish for that one. I wanna see the Big Donkey take the hill.
Well, I got my wish last night:
Not gonna lie: I’ve seen big bulky relievers with worse-looking mechanics than Dunner here. He was a college quarterback, after all, and football-throwing skills do transfer. Maybe not 100% cleanly after 15 years and a lot of beers and T-bone steaks like Dunn has likely seen come and go, but muscle memory can be pretty useful.
The line, alas, was not so great: one inning pitched, two hits, a walk and an earned run. But (a) he was more effective than the White Sox pitchers who gave the Rangers a 15-0 lead before he came in; and (b) he looked mighty damn fine doing it.
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.