Matt Kemp is sizzling since the break, plays the hero again last night

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For a guy who, just a few days ago, people were assuming could be dumped to another team, Matt Kemp has been pretty important to the Dodgers of late. On Tuesday night he blasted two homers against the Braves. Last night he hit another homer and then, in the 10th inning, did this:

Since the All-Star break, Kemp is hitting .436/.522/.744 with three homers, 11 RBI and seven walks. While his position is still up in the air — he’s playing right field at the moment, though he wants to be in center — his place in the lineup is becoming far less of a concern.

The Dodgers may still try to trade Kemp at some point. It would make long term sense for the team to do so. But that point may be this winter. Hopefully, for the Dodgers’ sake, after a second half in which he reestablishes his value as a to player.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.