The deal sending Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to the Dodgers remains on hold, with the assumption being that it requires the Dodgers’ other trade sending Matt Kemp to the Padres to happen first because one or more of those players will be flipped to Philadelphia.
However, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com “the trade that will send Rollins to the Dodgers remains in place” and if the Kemp deal falls through amid reports of his having two arthritic hips the Phillies “may have to get a player other than” than a Padres prospect.
In other words, even if the Kemp trade doesn’t happen Rollins is likely to wind up with the Dodgers anyway because the Phillies have more or less agreed to an alternate, fallback plan version of the deal.
So what exactly is the holdup stemming from Matt Kemp’s pre-trade physical exam?
Well, according to Bob Nightingale of USA Today the exam revealed that Kemp has arthritis in both hips and the Padres “continue to consult medical experts.”
Arthritic hips would certainly help explain how Kemp’s defense went downhill so rapidly and would also make it clear why the Padres might suddenly be re-thinking acquiring the 30-year-old former MVP runner-up even if the Dodgers are covering a big chunk of his remaining contract.
Oh, and there’s also this: Kemp, who apparently has two arthritic hips, batted .309 with 17 homers and a .971 OPS in 64 games after the All-Star break this year.
Manny Machado’s recovery from knee surgery is going well enough that the Orioles seem confident he’ll be ready for Opening Day, but there’s apparently more uncertainty surrounding Matt Wieters’ recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery.
While serving as the keynote speaker at an event in Baltimore, manager Buck Showalter said (via Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com):
With both of these guys, it will be when and not if. I think if you held a gun up to my head, I think Manny makes the start of the year, and I think Matt is very close thereafter, but we won’t put either one of these guys on the field until it’s time to go, and try to keep the finish line in mind.
Wieters underwent elbow surgery in June and the recovery timetable is typically much shorter for position players than it is for pitchers, but catchers need their elbows a lot more than typical position players.
Hideki Okajima had expressed an interest in returning to America after spending this past season in Japan, but the 39-year-old left-hander has decided to stay in Japan for another season.
Okajima, who pitched six years in the majors for the Red Sox and briefly the A’s, has signed with the Yokohama Bay Stars.
He had a 3.09 ERA in 250 innings in MLB, but given his age, injuries, and lack of recent success in America odds are Okajima would have had to accept a minor-league deal.
He pitched well in Japan this year with a 2.11 ERA and 34/16 K/BB ratio in 43 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.
Toronto has signed outfielder Ryan Kalish to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Kalish came up through the Red Sox’s farm system and then signed with the Cubs last offseason, hitting .248 with zero homers and a .642 OPS in 57 games for Chicago.
He didn’t hit particularly well at Triple-A this year either, but Kalish can play all three outfield spots and is still just 27 years old.