So I’m sitting here at home with a bad intermittent internet connection, listening to Phil Hendrie‘s daily podcast and wondering why anyone is surprised that the Dodger’s new front office has traded away Matt Kemp. According to ESPN.com news services
The trade helps alleviate a logjam of outfielders in the organization. Andre Ethier and prospect Joc Pederson will vie for playing time, with Yasiel Puig holding the starting job in right field, and Carl Crawford in left. The Dodgers could also use role player Scott Van Slyke in the rotation.
The Dodgers’ new front office has been looking to move bulky long-term contracts and to improve the atmosphere in the clubhouse, which was described as “dysfunctional” by several team sources last season. The glut of outfielders became a source of tension at various times throughout the season.
First, lets list what Kemp brought to the Dodgers last year. He was out half of the season with injuries, came back to be moved from center field to left field and joined most of the six outfielders warming the bench for a period of time. Kemp also brought discord to the dugout complaining through his “friend” he wasn’t happy in left field and expected to play every day.At 30, his record is showing he is not getting any better as a player, just the opposite. He no longer has the speed since he broke his ankle and his defense is nothing to write home about.
Graphic courtesy of Mike Petriello for FanGraphs
Today Kemp was traded to another NL West Division Team, the San Diego Padres. Normally I would have a serious issue about an interdivision trade. Not so with the Padres. They aren’t showing signs of building a team that will have more wins than the Astros: both are projected at having approximately 75 wins according to Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs. What Kemp may bring San Diego is more ticket sales, something that is not an issue with the Dodgers.
In this trade the Dodgers gained a hitting catcher in Yasmani Grandal, something we do not have in A.J. Ellis in addition to two prospects. This allowed them to trade two other catchers for prospects as well. The team needs prospects as they are still rebuilding their farm system after the damaging McCourt era.
So even if these are the last trades new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and his general manager Farhan Zaidi make during the winter meetings, they will have left a large imprint showing they are not afraid of improving the team. Not only short term but long term as well. This is exactly what the post McCourt Dodgers need now that they have made their presence known by winning the division the last two seasons with aging players.