MLB notebook: Matt Kemp back in LA, Adrian Gonzalez out
Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Braves that creates more financial flexibility for the reigning NL champions.
The Dodgers sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp.
Gonzalez agreed to waive his no-trade clause after receiving assurance from the Braves that he would be designated for assignment since they are already set at first base with Freddie Freeman.
“This allows him the opportunity to go and find some playing time,” new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons.
Los Angeles was looking to reduce baseball’s highest payroll of $240 million last season as a way of lowering exposure to higher luxury taxes.
The deal made sense for the Braves, too, since the players they acquired all have expiring contracts.
“It puts us in an even greater financial position going forward and going into next offseason as well,” said Anthopoulos, who was hired from the Dodgers.
Kemp played for the Dodgers from 2006-14, hitting 182 home runs, fourth most in Los Angeles history. The outfielder hit .276 with 19 homers, 64 RBIs and 23 doubles in 115 games last season with the Braves.
Moving Kemp opens up a potential roster spot for top Braves prospect Ronald Acuna, who turns 20 on Monday. He was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and Baseball America’s minor league Player of the Year.
Sabathia back to Yanks
The reunion that made too much sense not to happen finally did when free agent CC Sabathia agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Yankees, a source confirmed.
The deal is contingent on the 37-year-old left-hander passing his physical.