The Dodgers’ best chance of moving Matt Kemp may be to package the veteran outfielder (and the $43MM remaining on his contract) along with some good minor league talent to a team with payroll space that is willing to “buy a prospect,” Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan writes. Such moves are becoming increasingly common around baseball, such as the Padres’ acquisition of Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees earlier this offseason. The Dodgers have a deep enough farm system that they might not necessarily have to offer one of their top-tier prospects to unload Kemp; Sullivan cites righty Wilmer Font as the type of MLB-ready minor leaguer that could step right into the rotation of a rebuilding team. Some creativity may be required to work out a Kemp trade, though the five-player, luxury tax-bending deal with the Braves that brought Kemp back to L.A. was itself pretty unique. If it costs the Dodgers a star prospect to get Kemp off the books, it might be worth it in the long run if the trade frees up enough money for the Dodgers to re-sign Yu Darvish.
Some more from around the National League…
- Should the Giants sign Madison Bumgarner to an extension? The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly (subscription required) looks at the factors that the team will face in making that decision, such as other future salary commitments, whether the Giants will remain competitive in the coming years, and whether they’ll be wary about another long-term deal for a pitcher going into his 30s when other such recent contracts (i.e. Barry Zito, Matt Cain) didn’t work out. San Francisco isn’t in any immediate rush to decide on the matter, however, as Bumgarner is controlled through 2019 via a $12MM club option. This gives the Giants time to determine if they can extend their window of contention or perhaps if Bumgarner himself is still in his old form after his injury-marred 2017 campaign.
- The Braves’ lineup has lost a lot of pop with the departures of Kemp, Matt Adams, and Brandon Phillips, and the team’s primary hope is that its young players emerge as power threats, Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Continued development from Ozzie Albies, Rio Ruiz, and Johan Camargo would be a boon for the team, and big things are expected from star prospect Ronald Acuna. There’s also still the potential for another addition, GM Alex Anthopoulos said: “We’ve talked about the loss of power and how to make up for it. I don’t have an answer today. Normally you’d say ’Wow, it’s late January, how do you not have an answer?’ But there’s a lot of free agents still out there and there’s a lot of bodies.”
- The Marlins’ fire sale is the largest ever, The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh writes, as only one team in baseball history has traded more WAR in a single offseason than Miami has this winter. That team (the 1899 Louisville Colonels) technically shouldn’t count given the unusual circumstances — Colonels owner Barney Dreyfuss bought a share of the Pirates and then sold much of Louisville’s top talent to Pittsburgh. Lindbergh’s piece chronicles the top 20 biggest talent purges from one season to the next, with some other recent teams (the 2014 Braves, 2014 A’s, and 2012 Marlins) also appearing on the list.