For all the fans who have been patiently waiting, the Dodgers have finally made their grand splash of the winter, acquiring outfielder Matt Kemp from the Braves on Saturday afternoon in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson and cash.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was first to report the deal.
Many things are happening in the trade for both clubs, which at face value, appears to benefit both sides.
First, the Dodgers free-up three spots on the club’s 40-man roster. One of those spots will be taken by newly acquired right-hander Tom Koehler, once the team makes the signing official. Second and perhaps most important, once the dust settles on all the salary ramifications, the deal allows the Dodgers to legitimately land under the $197 million luxury tax threshold for the coming season, something which many fans thought was unattainable. Lastly, bringing Kemp home conceivably adds a right-handed power bat to the Los Angeles outfield, although some early reports are saying that he could be a strong candidate to be traded or released.
For the Braves, the deal allows them to clear Kemp’s 2019 salary completely. McCarthy will almost certainly jump right into their starting rotation, while Culberson fills a void as a much-needed utility infielder. Kazmir will be given the chance to contribute if he proves to be healthy, and according to Rosenthal’s subsequent reports, Atlanta will immediately designate Gonzo for assignment, permitting him to become a free agent.
As the Braves’ primary left fielder last season, Kemp slashed .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and 64 RBI over 115 games. In 2016 for the Padres and Braves combined, he hit .268/.304/499 with 35 long balls and 108 RBI in 156 games. Kemp’s benchmark year came in 2010 for the Dodgers when he finished as the runner-up to NL MVP Ryan Braun, after he hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 homers, 40 stolen bases and 126 RBI.
Kemp was originally chosen by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2003 draft out of Midwest City High School in Oklahoma. He stayed in Los Angeles through the 2014 season, until he was traded to the Padres along with catcher Tim Federowicz for Yasmani Grandal, Zach Eflin and Joe Wieland. Before the non-waiver trade deadline in 2016, the Padres sent Kemp to the Braves in exchange for Hector Olivera.
As there promises to be a ton of fallout from the deal, be sure to check back here frequently for any impending news or updates.
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