The hot stove may have taken a while to preheat, but it is now, um, cooking! New York Post baseball guy Joel Sherman is reporting that the Dodgers have acquired Matt Kemp from the Atlanta Braves, in exchange for Adrián González, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson, and cash.
32-year-old Matt Kemp isn’t the major score he once was—his 0.4 oWAR in 2017 was his lowest since 2006, his rookie season—but then the Dodgers didn’t give up anything major to get him: González was a surplus lefty bat coming off easily the worst season of his career; Kazmir and McCarthy are both into their thirties and coming off so-so seasons, and are completely outside of Los Angeles’s projected starting rotation; Culberson is a lightly used utility guy. For the price of some decent depth, the Dodgers pulled in another outfielder who can swing a bat, sure, but they also set themselves up for future spending on bigger fish:
It’s that 2018-19 free agency period that’s going to be an incredible bonanza. It’ll feature a cast of free agents to include Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Clayton Kershaw, and, of course, Bryce Harper, among many other quality players. It’s debatable whether today’s shifting of useful veterans much improves either team in the near term, but that’s not the point: the Braves are mid-rebuild, and all their real plans are further down the line than next season; the Dodgers, on the other hand, missed out on Giancarlo Stanton, but by shifting some money around they’ve set themselves up for scores on that scale, and without losing the kinds of assets they’d have to give up in order to swing a mega-trade.
As a Nats fan, I am already miserable about next winter.