The Los Angeles Dodgers finally made news this offseason by acquiring former all-star outfielder Matt Kemp from the Atlanta Braves.
Matt Kemp was everyone’s favorite Dodger back in 2011. Fast forward six years and the Dodgers have reacquired the massive contract that they initially wanted nothing to do with. In exchange, the Dodgers sent the Atlanta Braves Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson and cash considerations.
This is not your prototypical homecoming, however. When the news first broke I was excited to see Kemp donning the number 27 in Dodger blue once more. My best Dodger game memory (aside from attending game one of the World Series) was Matt Kemp blasting a walk-off home run in the 12th inning against the Phillies.
Kemp was my favorite Dodger and it was not even close. As sweet as it would be to see the veteran outfielder return to Dodger Stadium, it likely will not happen. This move had one theme in mind, the money. Kemp, who is owed $43 million over the next two seasons, does not fit the Dodgers’ need to free space.
Thus, Kemp will likely be shipped off with a decently high prospect such as Yusniel Diaz to a team that can use a DH that can eat the salary. This opens the door for the likes of Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez or even another ace such as Jake Arrieta.
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Where the Dodgers could trade Kemp is up in the air. Kemp certainly does have some value, it is just hard for a contending team to want to pay that salary. Regardless, the Dodgers have the pieces to entice American League teams.
This is the setup. The Dodgers are moving their pieces around the board. Expect a checkmate from Andrew Friedman’s front office in the coming hours, days or weeks.
Los Angeles effectively offset the contracts of Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy in this deal. All three were set to be free agents after this season and were owed a combined $47.5 million.
That is the key factor in this deal: they are all free agents after this season. Los Angeles simply could have sat on their thumbs, allowed the trio to play in the organization for one more season and free up the money after. However, they obviously want to free up the money now. They obviously want to flip Kemp to free up his money.
If the trio were signed to long-term deals this would be more clear. But they are not. Thus, it is safe to say that the Dodgers are about to pull an ace out of their sleeve. They are about to get a big name player, a big contract, the x-factor that I have been asking for.
It is time to get excited Dodger fans. Matt Kemp may not be helping the team on the field like in 2011, but he is a key pawn to do something special.