Matt Kemp has been such a boost to the Braves lineup that Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn’t see the team shopping Kemp as a deadline trade chip. Kemp is 32, is a limited defensive outfielder and has a hefty remaining salary owed through the 2019 season, yet Bradley feels the veteran has made himself a near-indispensable part of the roster. Kemp has been outstanding since joining the Braves last season, including a .345/.381/.608 slash line and 10 homers in 181 PA this year. Bradley also notes that Freddie Freeman’s production improved with Kemp hitting behind him, which gives Kemp even more value.
Some notes from around the NL East…
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said there wasn’t any new updates on Yoenis Cespedes’ DL situation, which leads the New York Post’s Adam Rubin to doubt whether Cespedes will be able to return to action this week. Cespedes’ rehab stint for a hamstring injury was interrupted by some soreness in his long bothersome right quad muscle, and he has yet to resume full running, though he has been jogging. Alderson had previously said that Cespedes could potentially return for DH duty when the Mets are in Texas for an interleague series with the Rangers this week, though that timeline seems tenuous at this point.
- Also from Rubin, he reports that the Mets “aren’t likely” to go after relievers Bobby Parnell and Ernesto Frieri. The two right-handers recently opted out of minor league deals (Parnell with the Royals, Frieri with the Yankees) and are now free agents. Parnell, of course, has a notable history with the Mets, pitching for the club from 2008-15 and serving as the team’s closer in 2013.
- Though rookie Koda Glover has looked excellent as the Nationals’ closer, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post argues that the Nats should still pursue an experienced ninth-inning man before the trade deadline. Glover is still an unproven commodity with some durability questions and the Nationals’ bullpen is lacking in overall depth, plus Glover could still excel as a setup man down the stretch.
- The Nationals’ pen is also one of many topics covered in a reader mailbag piece from Jorge Castillo and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, with Castillo feeling that the Nats will indeed obtain a reliever at the deadline. It may not necessarily be a big-name closer, however, given how Glover continues to perform over the next two months.
- From that same mailbag item, Janes writes that there don’t appear to be any extension talks between Dusty Baker and the Nationals, though that could be a function of ownership’s stance against making lengthy commitments to managers. It seems that both sides want to continue the relationship and all signs point towards Baker returning in 2018 (assuming the Nats continue to win, of course), though Janes notes that the team will have to pay market price for Baker given the success the Nationals have enjoyed in his tenure.
- Despite the Phillies’ struggles, GM Matt Klentak reiterated to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki and other media that the team hasn’t altered its approach to promoting its top minor league position players. The likes of J.P. Crawford, Roman Quinn, Rhys Hoskins and others at Triple-A could provide the Phils with a boost or at least give the youngsters some experience at the big league level as part of the team’s overall rebuilding process. The Phillies aren’t going to promote their prospects, however, until there is a clear opportunity for regular playing time and until each player is fully prepared for the majors. “To expose players to the big league level before they’re ready isn’t doing them any favors, nor is it doing the organization any favors. We have to constantly balance that,” Klentak said.