In what has already been a busy couple days at the Winter Meetings, the Dodgers close the book on a love story
Less than 24 hours after acquiring shortstop Jimmy Rollins (left) and second baseman Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Angels), the Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines, early Thursday morning, agreeing to send outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.
In return the Dodgers received catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and another prospect – sources say the prospect is right-hander Zach Eflin.
Although this trade may send shock waves across the city of Los Angeles and leave a question as to why the Dodgers pulled the trigger on Kemp before Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier.
LA had held firm at the MLB Winter Meetings, that Kemp would only be available if the “right” opportunity fell upon them.
Well, Thursday morning, the Dodgers made a move that made sense.
In 2011, Kemp’s 8-year, $160 million contract seemed warranted. He was the “unofficial” National League MVP with 39 home runs and 126 RBI.
Well Ryan Braun was the MVP that year, but we all know how that turned out.
However, since his 2011 campaign injuries had gotten the best of Kemp (right) and his play at the plate quickly declined, making him an overpaid, overrated former shell of Mr. Tinkle (Vin Scully’s nickname for Kemp).
LA in the trade also sent $32 million to San Diego to cover part of the remaining $107 million owed in Kemp’s salary ($75 million off the books).
The second half of the 2014 season was a resurgence for Kemp and his four-home-runs-in-two-nights kept him in a Dodgers uniform as the clock struck midnight at the trade-deadline.
However, the Dodgers could not afford another injury to an already injury prone Kemp with that much money on the books and an overloaded outfield.
Prospect Joc Pederson will be vying for playing time, and with Kemp on his way down Interstate 5, the future of Pederson can begin with Yasiel Puig in the driver’s seat.
Bringing in a catcher like Grandal, provides an instant upgrade at the position. Grandal may not have the biggest bat, but he has decent power (15 home runs, 49 RBI and 19 doubles in 2014) at a spot that was nonexistent in 2014.
Tim Federowicz, also on his way to the Padres and Drew Butera (Angels) are mediocre at best. A.J. Ellis, who had his moments and Grandal could become a solid one-two punch in 2015.
The head scratcher is Wieland. Wieland in nine career starts is 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA.
Possible potential, but still a work in progress.
If the prospect is Elfin, then the Dodgers would be getting back a solid High-A pitcher (2012: 10-7, 3.80 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 24 starts), whom LA drafted in 2012.
Kemp was a fan favorite in Los Angeles and may be on his way back to his 2011 form, but that is a risk the Dodgers have no room to take. Setting emotions aside for the man they call “The Bison”, Major League Baseball is a business and with the money off the books from Kemp and an overload of talent in the outfield, the Dodgers truly do come out winners in this deal.
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