The complete remaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers continues. A day after acquiring Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and Brandon McCarthy, as well as three prospects, the Dodgers agreed to trade outfielder Matt Kemp as part of a five-player deal with the San Diego Padres.
In the deal, the Padres will receive Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz and cash in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin. The trade allows the Dodgers to create playing time in their over-crowded outfield, saves some salary space and gives them an everyday catcher to play ahead of A.J. Ellis. The Padres receive one of the premier right-handed power bats in the National League, as well as some money to help defray the cost of Kemp's contract.
Kemp is in the middle of an eight-year, $160 million contract that will go through the 2019 season. The Padres are reportedly receiving $31 million from the Dodgers to cover some of that contract, according to Bob Nightengale. The Padres will owe Kemp roughly $75 million over the next five years.
Kemp has famously struggled with injuries since signing his longterm deal with the Dodgers. Once a premier outfielder, Kemp's defense has suffered badly because of his injuries. Still, he was one of the best right-handed hitters in the National League during the second half of last season.
Playing in 150 games (the most for Kemp since 2011), Kemp hit .287/.346/.506 with 25 homers and 38 doubles for LA in 2014. He had a 971 OPS during the second half of the season.
Despite those numbers, the Dodgers were motivated to move Kemp because of his contract and their over-crowded outfield. LA has Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig already in their outfield and they need to make room for top prospect Joc Pederson. This trade should make it easier for the Dodgers to spread out their outfield at-bats. LA may still try to move Ethier, if they can find a taker for his contract.
The power-starved Padres will welcome Kemp's big bat with open arms. Grandal led San Diego with 15 homeruns last season and the team is in desperate need of some offensive firepower.
The Dodgers will plug Grandal in at catcher. He may also see some time at first base when Adrian Gonzalez needs a rest. Grandal appeared in 128 games last season for San Diego and hit .225/.327/.401 with those 15 homeruns. Grandal is an average defensive catcher but a better hitter than current Dodgers' catcher Ellis, who figures to share the catching duties with Grandal now. Grandal was one of the better catchers at frame pitches last year, which should help the Dodgers' pitching staff.
The Padres could use Federowicz along with Rene Rivera to replace Grandal behind the plate. The Dodgers are expected to receive prospects Wieland and Eflin. Eflin will reportedly then be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the Jimmy Rollins trade.