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Vince Velasquez to undergo season ending finger surgery

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Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez will undergo surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger. It’ll end his season.

The issue, according to Pete Mackanin, has been clogging blood flow to Velasquez’s middle finger, causing a numbness he has been experiencing on and off for some time. It’s shown up in his performance as well, helping him to a 2-7 record and a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts this year. The right-hander missed a month and a half earlier this season with a right elbow flexor strain.

Velasquez, the top prospect coming to the Phillies from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade a couple of years back, has shown some fantastic upside at times, but health issues and inconsistency have derailed him of late. The surgery he’s undergoing is not said to be major and he should be ready for spring training. How he fits in the Phillies’ plans going forward, however, is an open question.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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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.