Dodgers Team News

What This Trade Means For The Dodgers, Matt Kemp, And Adrian Gonzalez

In an absolutely stunning turn of events, the Dodgers have traded away Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Adrian Gonzalez, and Charlie Culberson to bring back Dodger fan favorite Matt Kemp! Can you say wow? Essentially this trade is a dealing bad contracts back and forth.

A trade of this magnitude surely will shake up the roster altogether. Gone are the short term commitments of Kazmir, McCarthy, and Gonzo. In return we bring back one of the biggest fan favorites from 2007 through 2014. Unfortunately Matt Kemp is a bit of a shell of his former self. With multiple years of poor defense, and average offense, there isn’t high expectations.

There is also the wrinkle that the Dodgers may either trade Kemp again, or outright release him per Ken Rosenthal:

What then can we expect from Matt Kemp, should the Dodgers hold on to him? First of all, we can expect a warm welcome back home for him. Dodger fans loved Matt Kemp in his years with the team. He was an All-Star outfielder with a magnetic personality to go with it. Second, Kemp will bring solid, but not superb, offense to left-field. His triple-slash of 276/.318/.463 was nothing to write home about necessarily. But in a situation of splitting time, it should do the trick. Lastly, he will come with two years left on that contract. So unless the Dodgers have another trade ready to go, he will be part of the team in 2018 and 2019. Having a veteran like him will go a long way in mentoring some of the newer rookies to the team.

Then there is the contract aspect. In 2013 he was signed to an 8 year, $160 million contract. But it became quickly clear that his contract, and performance wasn’t cutting it. So the Dodgers sent Kemp to the Padres in 2015 in a trade that brought back Yasmani Grandal. However, after only one year with the Padres he was sent to the Braves. Now, he returns home bringing with him 2 years and $42 million left.

Let’s break down the numbers:

  • Dodgers Receive:
    • Matt Kemp: 2 years, $21.5 million per year
  • Braves Receive:
    • Adrian Gonzalez: 1 year, $22.6 million
    • Scott Kazmir: 1 year, $17.67 million (some of which is deferred)
    • Brandon McCarthy: 1 year, $11.5 million
    • Charlie Culberson: Pre-Arb
    • Cash Considerations: $4.5 million

Certainly the biggest part of this entire trade is the money aspect. Ultimately the trade appears to be cash neutral overall. But for the 2018 season the Dodgers appear to be under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. If this indicates anything, it shows the front office knows how to get creative, and is ready to reset the luxury tax penalties this year. We could witness a full commitment to the youth on our roster this year.

Also worthy of mention is the Braves’ plans for Adrian Gonzalez. The 35-year old veteran will be designated for assignment by Atlanta, making him a free agent. It is unclear which teams will have interest in him and what kind of deal he can get, but hopefully it’s something good. Gonzalez was with the Dodgers for six years and was excellent before injuries plagued him in 2017. Good luck to Adrian Gonzalez, Charlie Culberson, Scott Kazmir, and Brandon McCarthy!

Blake Coble

Born and raised in SoCal and bled Blue my whole life. Absolutely love baseball and absolutely love the Boys in Blue! I have a fascination with analyzing the statistics and trends that drive player performance, and I love following our minor league prospects as well! Active duty Air Force currently stationed in Central California! Follow me on Twitter @yarritsblake


  1. “Ultimately the trade appears to be cash neutral overall.” Not even close. Atlanta took on $51M of 2018 payroll. The Dodgers added $35M over 2018-19 (12M of Kemp’s contract is paid through previous trades and was already accounted for on the Padre and Dodger payrolls). This doesn’t even factor in the luxury tax savings. Even if on field performance makes up the difference for the Braves, they still overpaid because the Dodgers wouldn’t have had playing time to spare to get the same on field value from McCarthy, Kazmir, and Culberson.

    1. Brian,
      I couldn’t agree with you more. The Dodgers are a big time winner in this trade although I am not saying Atlanta is a loser because they could als be a winner too just not as big of a winner as the Dodgers will be. Two more things are possible in this and that it 1) Matt Kemp is traded with a prospect (who there is no spot for playing time anyway) 2) Matt Kemp snaps out of his attitude and starts to play good (doubt if he will be great again) but could at least be good again
      Last thought is why didn’t they do this trade then trade Kemp and others for Stanton???

      1. To answer your question about Stanton, this trade pretty much dumps salary now and next year. Getting Stanton would have added 20 mill for a long time(10 yrs)

  2. Gonzo was always first class with the Dodgers whereas Kemp certainly had his moments with the attitude. If they had made a trade for Stanton, they most likely would have wound up with three or four years of an Albert Pujols like albatross around their necks.

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