Pending physicals and approval from the commissioner’s office, the Los Angeles Dodgers have traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres completing a frenzied period of activity for the Dodgers front office, which also acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 National league MVP, from the Phillies, second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, and Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
The Kemp deal sends Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two pitching prospects.
Buster Olney of ESPN explained the reasons for the trade: “First off, the Dodgers have had this surplus in the outfield over the last year and a half, which really, increasingly became a problem, and so they made it very clear to other teams that they were willing to talk about Kemp, but coming off his strong second half, he probably had the most value…. In recent weeks, the Padres have made it known to other teams that they are looking for two high-end bats, and Kemp certainly would qualify as that.”
Kemp, 30, missed 145 games due to injuries during the 2012-13 seasons, but during the last half of the 2014 season, he went on a tear, slugging .309 with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs. For the season, he hit .287 with 25 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .346 on-base percentage.
The Dodgers are prepared to eat $31 million of the $107 million left on Kemp’s eight-year, $160 million contract in order to get the deal done.
Kemp has hit .292 with 182 home runs and 648 RBIs in his nine years with the Dodgers; his best year was 2011, when he finished second in the National League MVP voting with a .324 average, 39 home runs, 126 RBIs, and 40 steals. Kemp hits well at Petco Park, batting .322 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 214 at-bats.
Rollins, who hit .243 with 17 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 2014, will replace Hanley Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88-million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Rollins may have lost a step defensively, but Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa said, “He makes up for the half a step he’s lost with his knowledge of how to play guys. He has great hands and a quick release.” He added, “He likes to be up in crucial situations. You know that rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers? He’ll dial it up a notch for that. He’s a very confident individual.”
The Dodgers acquired Kendrick for Andrew Heaney, who was obtained from the Marlins in a trade that sent Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and cash considerations or a player to be named later for Heaney, reliever Chris Hatcher, utility man Enrique Hernandez, and minor league catcher Austin Barnes.
Rollins and Kendrick will both be free agents after 2015.
The Dodgers signed McCarthy to a four-year, $48 million deal. He went 3-10 last year with the Diamondbacks but went 7-5 and a 2.89 ERA with the Yankees.
Gordon may have been deemed expendable by the Dodgers because he slowed down in the second half last season; in the first half, he hit .292/.344/.398, but in the latter half he hit .284/.300/.348.