After spending the 2014 season working on different combinations in the outfield and managing the egos involved, the new Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office was likely to break up the surplus in an effort to address deficiencies on the roster.
While the Dodgers were believed to be shopping Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, it was Kemp who routinely was mentioned in trade rumors. The speculation has all but become reality as the Dodgers reportedly agreed to send him, Tim Federowicz and $32 million to offset some of Kemp’s remaining salary to the San Diego Padres for Yasmani Grandal and two pitching prospects.
The trade has yet to be made official, but Kemp shared his feelings on being dealt in an interview with CBS’ Jim Hill:
When you’re with a team as long as I was with a team, it’s pretty shocking. I mean that’s the first thing you think about and then you kind of sit back and you realize you know it’s a business and things happen.”
The Dodgers selected Kemp in the sixth round of the 2003 draft and he made his Major-League debut with the team in 2006. Kemp’s best season was in 2011 when he hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 home runs, 126 RBIs and added 40 stolen bases.
In what was an MVP-caliber season, Kemp finished second in the voting behind Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun — a controversial decision at the time that looked worse when Braun later was at the center of a doping scandal.
After recovering from offseason ankle surgery, Kemp got off to a slow start that coincided with him being removed from center field. He eventually settled in as a right fielder and came into his own at the plate in the second half. Turning 30 years old didn’t slow the outfielder down as he found his swing and supplied power for a lineup that was void with it due to Hanley Ramirez’s hot-and-cold season.
Kemp now joins the Padres, a team that was in desperate search of a power hitter this winter, with five years remaining on his contract and new challenges lying ahead.
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