Matt Kemp has been out since May 31 after aggravating his left hamstring strain in his second game back from the disabled list and manager Don Mattingly indicated yesterday that the Dodgers haven’t established a timetable for his return.
Kemp clearly won’t be back when eligible later this week, but that’s expected considering he said the aggravated injury was worse than the original version and the Dodgers initially projected a month-long absence.
For now Mattingly told Alex Angert of MLB.com that “we’re just moving forward with him, doing more activities and running.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. has been the primary center fielder in Kemp’s absence and has hit .281 in 25 games since the original injury, but that comes with zero homers and just two non-intentional walks for a measly .654 OPS that’s 200 points below Kemp’s career mark. Amazingly, despite all the missed time Kemp still ranks among the NL’s top 10 in homers.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.