The Braves have reportedly acquired right fielder Matt Kemp from the San Diego Padres in exchange for suspended third baseman Hector Olivera. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Constitution was the first to report the deal was done, pending physicals, after numerous reporters shared rumors of the pending trade Saturday afternoon.
Olivera’s suspension for domestic abuse ends Tuesday, but the Braves had little desire to bring him back to the big league club. Olivera played 30 games with Atlanta, including only six this season before his arrest in Washington. He hit .211 this year with 2 RBI. Last year Olivera hit .253 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI in 79 at bats.
The Braves got Olivera in a complicated three-team deal one year ago Saturday that sent Alex Wood, Jose Peraza, Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan to the Dodgers. Lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez, pitching prospect Zach Bird and a competitive balance pick in 2016 (Joey Wentz) also went to the Braves.
The 31-year-old Kemp is hitting .262 with the Padres this season with 23 home runs and 69 RBI. He’s got 24 doubles and a .285 on base percentage.
Kemp is owed $21.75 million for each of the next three seasons, with the Dodgers paying $3.5 million of that. That’s $18.25 million per year or a total of $54.75 million.
The Dodgers are also paying part of Olivera’s salary for the next four seasons. Atlanta was on the hook for $5,996,667 in 2017, $6,496,667 in 2018, $7,496,667 in 2019 and $8,496,667 in 2020. That’s a total of $28,486,668.
The difference in that is $26,263,332 the Braves take on in Kemp’s extra money. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Padres will send $10-$12 million to the Braves in this trade, meaning the Braves will have a net-gain of around $16-$18 million in payroll obligations over the next three seasons.
Kemp has mainly played right field in his career. He has seen action in 55 games in left field, so the Braves could move him there or move Nick Markakis over to left field. Padres reporters told Scout.com Kemp’s arm is still strong, but his range is not good in the outfield.
The Braves are last in MLB in home runs with 64. The next-closest team has 87, so the Braves were desperate to add a power hitter.
Kemp has hit .296 since June 1 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 199 at bats. He’s also hit better away from spacious PetCo Park, posting a .277 batting average with 15 home runs and 42 RBI.
This trade likely means the Braves will move either Ender Inciarte or Nick Markakis before Opening Day, 2017. Mallex Smith, who is now injured, is expected to be either in left field or center field for the Braves.
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