Tag: Matt Kemp

Yasmani Grandal Dodgers

Yasmani Grandal just had one of the biggest games by a catcher in MLB history


Yasmani Grandal had a monster game today in the Dodgers’ blowout win over the Brewers, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, two walks, and eight RBIs.

Some random factoids:

– He’s the first catcher with eight RBIs in a game since J.R. Towles of the Astros in 2007.

– He’s the first catcher with two home runs and eight RBIs in a game since Ivan Rodriguez of the Rangers in 1999.

– He’s the first catcher with two home runs, eight RBIs, and six times on base in a game since Walker Cooper of the Reds in 1949.

So yeah, it was a decent afternoon.

And the Dodgers have to be feeling pretty good about getting the 26-year-old Grandal from the Padres as part of the Matt Kemp trade/salary dump. It’s very early, of course, but Kemp is hitting .291 with one homer and a .747 OPS in 29 games for the Padres, whereas Grandal is now hitting .301 with four homers and a .948 OPS in 23 games for the Dodgers.

Video: Joc Pederson made a fantastic catch — and throw — last night

joc pederson getty

Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson has been fantastic so far this year. He’s been hitting up a storm — .296/.458/.556 so far — and his defense has been superb. Defense like this:

Maybe Puig makes that play, but not as easily or as often, I don’t imagine. And Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier probably have little or no chance.

The Dodgers biggest change heading into this season has been putting square pegs in square holes — making sure they have a good, natural shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. And so far it’s paying off.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


[I slept late, so I’m letting Reds manager Brian Price do the first recap]

Reds 6, Brewers 1: Anthony Desclafani’s shut down every f****** Brewer he faced, it f****** seemed, tossing eight f****** shutout innings.  He allowed only two f****** hits and now has a f****** scoreless innings streak of fifteen f****** innings. Zach Cosart hit a three run homer on a pitch from Wily Peralta that was, to be candid with you, a vulgar term for feces (both bovine and equine).

White Sox 4, Indians 3: Down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the White Sox had to face Cody Allen. Not a problem.

wild pitch
two-run double
RBI single
RBI single

I didn’t see Terry Francona’s postgame comments, but he’d be excused if he let Brian Price draft his remarks for him. What a f****** day for Ohio baseball.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 1: It was a day not fit for man nor beast in Boston, but it was Patriot’s Day, and that’s a big deal so they were gonna get this game in regardless, it seemed. As it was, the Orioles made three errors that led to five unearned Red Sox runs. Not that the unearned runs weren’t, as it were, earned by O’s pitcher Wei-Yin Chen: he walked four dudes and made an error in the Sox’ big inning. After that it was all about dodging raindrops and waiting for the umps to call the game. Which they did in the seventh.

Tigers 2, Yankees 1: Down 1-0, J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes hit back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh to put the Tigers over. A nice outing from CC Sabathia — encouraging and efficient, even in a loss — but a better one from Alfredo Simon. The Tigers have been getting great pitching from Simon, Shane Greene and David Price.

Cubs 5, Pirates 2: Kris Bryant was 3-for-4 with three RBI, including this double plus (and doubleplus) error and misplay that I’m choosing to count as a home run, because Little League is the best. Bryant is 6-for-14 with a double and four RBI in the four games he’s played since being called up.

Royals 7, Twins 1: Edinson Volquez allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings, allowing only one run. Kyle Gibson allowed four runs — three earned — in five innings and didn’t strike out a single batter. Indeed, he’s struck out only 5.2 batters per nine innings in his career, which is insanely bad in this strikeout-happy era.

Padres 14, Rockies 3: Ah, it’s great to be back in Denver. The Padres unleashed a 17-hit attack in which they put up nine runs in the first two innings. Matt Kemp had three hits and four RBI. Odrismar Despaigne allowed only two runs in six and two-thirds and got his first career hit. After the game, he revealed that his fellow Padres pitchers told him they’d take him out shopping for new clothes today if he got a hit in Coors Field, so good for him. The Padres have won 5 of 6.

Athletics 6, Angels 3Stephen Vogt hit a three-run homer and Dan Otero pitched four shutout innings in relief after starter Kendall Graveman couldn’t get it together in three frustrating innings.

Astros 7, Mariners 5: Luis Valbuena is on fire. He hit two homers — solo shots in the first and eighth, giving the Astros the lead both times — and has five over his past seven games. Six of the Astros’ nine hits were for extra bases.

Braves trade Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres

Craig Kimbrel

Happy Opening Day, everyone. To celebrate, the Padres have made another gigantic trade. Kiley McDaniels of FanGraphs was the first to report that the Braves have traded closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Matt Wisler, minor league outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (link), outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, and the 41st overall pick (per ESPN’s Keith Law).

The Padres were the only team yet to submit a 25-man roster and this is why. They had a glut of outfielders and cleared it up with this trade to the Braves. The Padres also reunite the Upton brothers.

Kimbrel had signed a four-year, $42 million extension last February but the Braves are going deeper into a rebuilding mode. Given the fickle nature of relievers, Kimbrel’s price tag, and the Braves’ unlikelihood of being competitive for a little while, it does make sense for them to deal the fireballer. Since debuting in 2010, Kimbrel has a career 1.43 ERA with 186 saves and a 476/108 K/BB ratio in 289 innings.

Upton had $46.35 million and three years remaining on a five-year, $75.25 million deal signed with the Braves in November 2012. In two seasons with the Braves, the 30-year-old ranked among baseball’s least productive players with a .593 OPS and -1.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.

Both Maybin (28) and Quentin (32) had been pushed out of the picture as the Padres completely revamped their outfield with the off-season trades to acquire Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers. Maybin has $16 million over two years remaining on his contract. Quentin has $8 million remaining just for the 2015 season before becoming eligible for free agency. [Update: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Braves plan to designate Quentin for assignment. They acquired him simply to balance out the money involved.]

Wisler, 22, reached Triple-A for the first time last season, finishing with a 5.01 ERA and a 101/36 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings in El Paso. MLB.com rated him the organization’s top pitching prospect, fourth overall in the system, and 70th among baseball’s top 100 prospects.

Paroubeck, 20, played his first professional season last year after being taken by the Padres in the second round of the 2013 draft. In 157 plate appearances, the outfielder batted .286/.346/.457.

2015 Preview: San Diego Padres

A J Preller, Bud Black, Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The San Diego Padres.

The Big Question: Who are these guys and what have they done with the Padres?

A.J. Preller was hired as the Padres general manager last August and he went into the offseason with a plan. Prior to the winter meetings, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Padres were “aggressively looking for hitters who can help them contend for (the) NL West title immediately.” The report drew some laughs, as it seemed incredibly ambitious and even unrealistic for a team which ranked last in pretty much every major offensive category last season while finishing under .500 for the fourth straight year. We quickly learned that he wasn’t messing around.

The biggest changes came in the outfield, with trades for Justin Upton (from the Braves), Matt Kemp (from the division rival Dodgers), and Wil Myers (in a three-team deal with the Rays and Nationals), but Preller also acquired 2014 All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Athletics. There’s something to be said for not being loyal to the players you inherit from a previous regime. As a new GM, Preller was uniquely positioned for this rapid and unexpected overhaul. The cherry on top of their offseason was signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract in early February. Joaquin Benoit’s $15.5 million deal was the franchise’s previous record guarantee to a free agent, so this is some uncharted territory we’re dealing with here. The Padres also threw money at some low-risk, high-reward types for their rotation with Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow. Despite all the activity, the Padres’ payroll isn’t going to be much higher than what it was last year. It helps that the Dodgers are paying nearly all of Kemp’s salary for this season.

Pitching was already a strength for the Padres, partially due to their home ballpark, but the addition of Shields makes them even better. He can now slot into the No. 1 spot while Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross all move down a peg. Odrisamer Despaigne held his own during his first season in the majors last year and should do fine as a fifth starter if Morrow and/or Johnson don’t pan out. Outfield defense is a concern, particularly in center field with Myers, but the Padres are hoping that what the trio does on offense offsets the deficiencies in the field.

Who knows if this is going to work out. Kemp is an injury risk and maybe all those innings finally catch up to Shields. Maybe Myers doesn’t bounce back and Upton (an impending free agent) becomes a trade candidate by midseason. But the Padres are trying something here and that’s pretty exciting. It’s always fun to be in San Diego, but even more so right now.

What else is going on?

  • It’s pretty remarkable that the Padres were able to make all of these moves and still managed to keep arguably three of their best prospects, right-hander Matt Wisler, outfielder Hunter Renfroe, and catcher Austin Hedges. I guess you could throw Rymer Liriano into that mix, as well. So they didn’t completely sell out their future this winter. You could also say that they still have the flexibility to make another big move if they really want to go for broke. Cole Hamels, perhaps?
  • My goodness, something has to give with these extra outfielders. The Padres dealt Seth Smith to the Mariners over the winter, but they still have basically their projected starting outfield from a couple of years ago — Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin — under contract. Liriano also saw time at the major league level last year. Quentin could get hurt by the time I finish writing this sentence, but one would think we’ll see a trade soon to clear this logjam.
  • While right-handed sluggers Upton, Kemp, and Myers could put up big numbers in that outfield, the infield is another matter altogether. It’s a glaring weakness. Jedd Gyorko showed some potential during his rookie season in 2013, but he’s coming off a down year and he’s surrounded by the likes of Yonder Alonso, Alexi Amarista, Will Middlebrooks, Yangervis Solarte, Tommy Medica, and Clint Barmes. Not the most inspiring group. Perhaps Alonso or Middlebrooks can surprise, but that would require a leap of faith. This infield would be more interesting if they managed to outbid the Dodgers for Hector Olivera, but that ship has sailed.
  • With the additions of Upton, Kemp, Myers, Shields, and Norris, it’s easy to overlook the work that Preller did with his bullpen. Brandon Maurer came over in the Smith deal with the Mariners while Shawn Kelley was acquired from the Yankees for minor league right-hander Johnny Barbato. Both are intriguing potential late-inning arms. Padres manager Bud Black has a handful of interesting alternatives for the closer role if Benoit goes down at some point. I wouldn’t rule that possibility out, as Benoit will be 38 later this year and dealt with some shoulder issues down the stretch last year.
  • Saying “if he can stay healthy” should be obvious with any pitcher, but that’s especially the case with Cashner. The 28-year-old has flashed frontline potential at times, with a 2.96 ERA across 51 career starts, but he was limited to just 19 starts last season with elbow and shoulder issues and has never thrown more than 175 innings in a season before. This rotation has some questions — even Ross was shut down after a career-high 195 2/3 innings last year due to muscle soreness in his right forearm — but if things break right, they could be one of the best groups in the National League.

Prediction: I think it’s going to be close with the Giants, but what the heck, I’ll drink the offseason Kool-Aid. Second place, NL West and the second Wild Card spot.