Los Angeles Dodgers trade Matt Kemp to San Diego Padres in a salary dump

December 18, 2014

The Los Angeles Dodgers today officially confirmed the trade that had been reported several days ago, sending star outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to the San Diego Padres for a collection of spare parts in the form of catcher Yasmani Grandal, right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland, and right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin.

According to other outlets, the delay in announcing the deal arose when Kemp's physical revealed that he had arthritis in both hips.  As a result, the Padres apparently had second thoughts on completing the trade.

Now that the deal has gone through, some serious concerns have been raised about management's decision to trade one of the Dodger's most popular and productive players.

When Kemp finally regained his health last season, he became arguably baseball's best hitter after the All-Star Break.  With Hanley Ramirez gone, and now with Kemp out of the lineup too, runs and extra base hits could be scarce next season at Chavez Ravine.

Kemp, 30, has a .292 career batting average with 182 home runs and 648 RBI in 1,116 games in nine seasons with Los Angeles. The two-time All-Star and 2011 NL MVP runner up was originally selected by the club in the sixth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

But despite all that production and history with the team, the Dodgers had their reasons for the trade, many of which are questionable.

Yes, the Dodgers could claim that they had a logjam in the outfield, but shouldn't the first guy on their trade list be declining Andre Ethier rather than Kemp?

Yes,  the Dodgers could claim that Kemp had a history of injury trouble and wasn't getting any younger, but hadn't he turned the corner this past season and displayed relatively good overall health?

Yes, the Dodgers could claim that they wanted to improve their outfield defense with youngsters Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson in right and center respectively, but won't that move drastically curtail the team's overall offensive production?

Ultimately, it seems the team's biggest motivation in the end was trimming future payroll, as the Dodgers got rid of Kemp's hefty long term deal even if they reportedly will have to pay nearly $32 million of Kemp's remaining $107 million salary.

This "salary dump" truth becomes much more apparent considering what little return the Dodgers received for their former MVP candidate.

Grandal, a switch-hitter, has a .245 career batting average with 24 home runs and 94 RBI in 216 games with the Padres from 2012-14.  Grandal was selected to the 2012 MLB All-Star Futures Game and posted a .310/.408/.487 slashline in four minor league seasons from 2010-13 in the Reds and Padres organizations. The native of Cuba was originally selected by the Reds in the first round (12th overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami and then acquired by San Diego from Cincinnati on Dec. 17, 2011 in a five-player deal.

Wieland, 24, has gone 35-22 with a 3.27 ERA in 95 games (86 starts) in seven minor league seasons in the Rangers and Padres organizations from 2008-14. As a minor leaguer, he posted a 5.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning, with 444 Ks and only 86 walks in 476.2 innings. He made his Major League debut at Dodger Stadium as a member of the Padres on April 14, 2012 and has gone 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA in nine big league games (seven starts) in 2012 and 2014. He missed the second half of the 2012 season and all of the 2013 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.

Wieland was acquired by San Diego along with Robbie Erlin in exchange for Mike Adams at the trade deadline in 2011, his best professional season. He was selected as a Single-A Carolina League mid-season All-Star and a Double-A Texas League post-season All-Star that year after going a combined 13-4 with a 1.97 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) with Double-A Frisco, Double-A San Antonio and Single-A Myrtle Beach. The Reno, NV, native was originally selected by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

Eflin, 20, has gone 17-14 with a 3.41 ERA in 50 career games (49 starts) in three minor league seasons in the San Diego organization after being selected by the club in the first round (33rd overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. The Florida native went 10-7 with a 3.80 ERA in 24 starts last year for Single-A Lake Elsinore, posting a 3.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio (93 SO/31 BB) in 128.0 innings.

Other outlets have reported that Elfin will be flipped as part of the package in the Dodgers trade with Philadelphia for shortstop Jimmy Rollins, but as of press time today, that deal has yet to be confirmed by the team.

As for the Padres, they finally have a "name" player to put rear ends in the seats, and a seemingly healthy and productive one at that.

Throw-in Federowicz, 27, appeared in 89 big league games with the Dodgers from 2011-14, batting .194 with five home runs and 22 RBI. He was originally acquired by Los Angeles from Boston at the 2011 trade deadline in a four-player minor league deal.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com

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