Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier and commented on the inconsistency. After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job and that “he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined but not suspended. The lack of suspension caused the umpires to soil their collective diapers and launch a two-day protest against players being mean to them. What was not reported at the time, however, is that Kinsler’s fine was a significant one and not the mere slap on the wrist the umpires made it out to be. Buster Olney:
Yes, a player making $11 million as Kinsler is this year can afford that, but it’s still hefty fine for mere words. To say that it was some sort of injustice, as the umpires were basically saying in their protest, is simply silly.
In other news, in the event that Kinsler has spent his career earnings poorly and if, in fact, $10,000 will strap him, he will have some help in raising the money to pay Rob Manfred:
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.