Todd Coffey has not pitched in a major league game for over five years, but he never retired.
He pitched in the minors. He pitched in the independent leagues. He pitched for the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League. He signed multiple minor league deals with big league clubs for spring training tryouts, but his last pitch in the bigs came for the Dodgers on July 2, 2012 in a loss to the Reds. After that it was Tommy John surgery, rehab and a whole lot of fighting to come back, but it was never retirement.
Until now. Coffey gave his formal statement retiring to Jeff Passan of Yahoo, for whom he served as an invaluable source for and character in his 2016 book about Tommy John surgery, “The Arm.” Coffey’s statement:
Coffey pitched in the bigs for eight seasons, compiling a record of 25-18, a 4.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 329/138 in 438.2 innings across 461 games, all in relief. He played for the Reds, Brewers, Nats and Dodgers. He’s a big dude but he sprinted in from the bullpen every time he got the call. On days he pitched well it was part of an inspiring display. On days he didn’t, well, god love him for being enthusiastic:
Happy trails, Todd. Even if it’s been a while since we’ve seen ya.
Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves
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.