This move completely baffles me. It’s even more confusing than when the Dodgers decided to sign Tom Koehler, a right-handed reliever with an insanely high ERA. This time, the Dodgers traded four players and cash for none other than Matt Kemp. Yes, you read that right.
The Dodgers traded Adrián González, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Charlie Culberson in exchange for Kemp. Now, anyone who has followed the Dodgers for more than three years knows that Kemp used to play for the Dodgers. Also, if you have watched Kemp for any length of time, you know that he is most famous for getting ejected.
The Dodgers’ goal for trading away González, Kazmir, and McCarthy seems to have been to lighten up the pay role. González is owed $21.5 million, McCarthy $12 million, and Kazmir $15 million in 2018. So the Dodgers shed roughly $27 million when you take Kemp’s $21.75 million into consideration.
While I’m completely in favor of getting Kazmir and McCarthy, along with their salaries, off the roster, I’m not in favor of the rest of the deal. Kazmir didn’t even pitch in 2017 due to a hip injury. In 2016, Kazmir went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA. McCarthy pitched in 19 games (16 starts) in 2017, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.98 ERA. However, he pitched only 92.2 innings. The Dodgers also traded away Charlie Culberson, who spent most of the season in Triple-A. He recorded only 13 at-bats during the regular season, recording only two hits.
The part of this trade that I don’t like has to do with González and Kemp. I know that González played in only 71 games this year due to injuries, but I still think he could have contributed to the Dodgers. González has shown to be a very consistent hitter over his Major League career and, even though his stats were down, I think he will bounce back in 2018. The Dodgers should have kept González around. I also can’t believe that they really wanted Kemp to return. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to think that the Dodgers want to bring him back. He only hit 19 home runs in 2017. He also is not the kind of person the Dodgers should want in the clubhouse. It seems like he always would get ejected from games, something that drives me and other baseball fans crazy! His stats are also declining. His power is going down along with his slugging percentage and his OPS.
Since the Dodgers freed up some of their money (which they have more than enough of), they should put it either towards trading Kemp for Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen or signing free-agent Lorenzo Cain. I for one, do not want to see Kemp in a Dodger uniform again. Technically, the Dodgers checked the box of acquiring another outfielder, but I think they messed it up. There are many better outfielders they could have acquired. Hopefully, they can get the outfield figured out before Spring Training.