Dodgers Trade Gonzalez, McCarthy, Kazmir and Culberson To Braves For Matt Kemp

I’m on the road right now trying to Christmas and adulting but the Dodgers have blown my mind. They’ve reportedly traded Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Charlie Culberson to the Braves for you guessed it…..Matt Kemp.

This is apparently not a joke. It appears the Dodgers have gotten rid of all of their albatross contracts in one fell swoop. They’ve also cleared payroll space to stay below the luxury tax as well. We’ll miss Gonzo and Culberson, BMac and Kazmir not so much. We’ll have more on this later as more of the details develop. I’ll have my take on this later when I’m near a computer. Until then…..wow! This front office never ceases to amaze me.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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91 thoughts on “Dodgers Trade Gonzalez, McCarthy, Kazmir and Culberson To Braves For Matt Kemp

  1. Wow! This trade will send the FAZOPHILES through the roof. !!! Beast mode back in LA. I love it, it also eliminates the need to play Cody in the outfield. Kemp may not be the defensive player he once was, but his bat it still potent.

        1. Bluto
          Sorry I missed your comment until now. I think Kemp used to be above average but now he has definitely slipped. He would be better served in the AL I think. I am very happy at getting rid of everyone except Culbertson in the trade. What about you?

    1. This is an interesting and good (not great) trade.

      Dump salaries, the goal now is to be under the 197mm threshold. Which was unimaginable by many. Once again a failure of imagination by everyone including myself.

      Passan comments:
      The scariest thing in the world for 28 other teams around baseball is the Yankees and Dodgers being run by intelligent people with good decision-making skills. They are. The second-scariest thing is the Yankees and Dodgers dipping under the luxury-tax threshold. They’re about to.

      Kemp will be traded or released, as per Rosenthal.

      1. Bluto
        I have to say that getting rid of Agon, Kasmir, and McCarthy is a good move to get under the luxury tax. Those guys are some that have been discussed many times on this blog. Got to hand it to you in knowing that getting under the 197 would benefit the team. Now I feel hopeful that the Dodgers will get some good pitching. Your thoughts?

        1. I had no idea the team would get under 197, I was just stating that every report from credible baseball journalists iterated that was the goal.

          It’s good to hit your goals, so I’m happy for the team.

          I have no problem going into the season with Kershaw/Hill/Ryu/Oaks/Maeda/Buehler/Stewart/Stripling comprising the rotation.

          The Front Office seems to know how to build a bullpen (see Blanton/Dayton/Morrow) from seemingly normal or unexceptional arms. I figure that will be route taken. Pitchers who at face value are like “Oh well” but turn out to be quite useful.

          1. Bluto
            You can bet they track what they take chances on and compile the types of pitchers develop into what they want. They also know that this does not always work all the time, I guess the more experience they get, the better they will get. Bluto, you really have me giving a more indepth look at what they are doing. Thanks. I must say however, I just love it when a team brings a stud.

      1. 2 years 43 million left on his deal….they might try and trade him, but it is awfully expensive to just release him. They would still be on the hook for all that money. The best part is that McBrittle and Quagmire are gone.

        1. Mr. Norris
          You are right. He is owed too money to be released but I think he will be traded. Andropolis left to be the GM at Atlanta. Strange.

      2. I don’t believe the Dodgers want anything to do with Kemp.

        I’m still wondering why Atlanta would do this. Was something promised under the table? COLLUSION!!!

        1. Shhhhhh!! Badger, this is a good thing. All that money coming back to the Dodgers. I think Kemp’s stay in LA will be short.

      1. Look at the video on MLB of him hitting a HR in a brave’s uniform. Yikes!

        But welcome home Matty! No matter how long it is, we will always have 2011.

          1. You going to eat 43 million Bluto? Because that is how much he is owed over the next 2 years. I think they would try to trade him rather than release him. But he had better stats than any of our outfielders last year.

          2. He has zero value, so the only way to trade him is to package him up.

            Hopefully they find a taker.

            Otherwise, it’s a DFA.

            Kemp is amazing. He has twice been traded for worthless parts.

          3. We will have to wait and see what the FO does. Anything we say is only supposition. We have no idea what FAZ’s plan for Matt might be. He may very well get released, but I for one do not think ownership wants to eat 43 million dollars. If he had one year left maybe, but 2, not so much.

  2. I don’t think Kemp will be let go.

    He could be that big right hand bat, to protect Cody!

    And who doesn’t love a trade, that sends McCarthy and Kazmir, to the Braves?

    1. “And who doesn’t love a trade, that sends McCarthy and Kazmir, to the Braves?”

      Braves fans, that’s who.

      With the $4.5 million the Dodgers send back it’s a net neutral trade. The Braves are throwing in the towel on next year. Unless something else happens this adds zero wins for the Dodgers. I have a feeling there is more to this.

        1. It depends on how you define playing. His -17 defensive runs saved in just 851 2/3 defensive innings in left field last season were the worst in baseball.

          1. Maybe that is why he was working on his conditioning. He does look a lot slimmer now than earlier this year.

          2. Bluto
            Where do you get these figures? Based on your figures Kemp is definitely not worth keeping but perhaps of value to the AL. Defensively he has got to be awful. Why do the Dodgers have him? Just to trade for someone who is of value?

          3. Oh. These stats are everywhere. I love them, they help me make sense of the game.

            Others, like Michael, are not as bullish on them.

            To eAch their own.

            The Dodgers have Kemp because he was/is a means to an end. It is my theory they will create value by packaging Kemp with prospects and try to move him.

        2. The only fielding stat I look at is fielding percentage…if a guy is not making errors, I am ok with that. But that’s just me….defensive runs saved means nothing to me. Especially if the guy is hitting 35 bombs and driving in 100 runs…that is more important.

  3. I would almost bet that this trade makes the person who shall not be named rethink his evaluation of the FO known as FAZ> As anti-Kemp as he was he cannot like this deal.

    1. Matt Kemp is projected to hit 24 home runs, knock in 81, score 67 with an OPS of .795. I think any other player who did that would be considered a valuable asset. Any team other than the Dodgers, who pay $3.5 million of his salary, would be paying $18 million for that production. A trade to the right AL team at this point in his career could be the best thing for everybody. I know he was against it before, but the time has come. If he’s focusing only on hitting, those numbers I just posted could be even better. $18 million is just not that much anymore.

      1. He has no value. The market has proven it.

        What’s his projected WAR? Aren’t you, Badger, big on the cost of war metric?

        If not, my apologies.

        Friedman spoke to media:
        He called getting payroll flexibility “a focal point for us this winter.”
        “Obviously one of the main considerations in this deal were economic. But they’re part of the bigger picture, the longer-term plan, and it’s a necessary strategic part of moves yet to come. Whether that’s this offseason, in July or next year, this move allows for increased flexibility going forward at a time when we have some depth.”
        On the team’s “plans” for Kemp:
        “That’s a good question. Obviously, there’s a lot of winter left.”

        1. I thought I have been abundantly clear on what it is I value – emphasis on the I.

          WAR is what the baseball nerds value. Maybe you’ve noticed the several links to the subject that have been posted here.

          It’s my deduction that the reason Kemp’s 35 home runs and 108 RBIs has netted him, “no value” as you put it, is because of runs given up by his defense. Take that out of the equation and then tell me if 35 and 108 is worth $18 million.

          1. I’m not deducing anything. I am pointing out that the market (AL and NL) has spoken. The last two teams in MLB to trade Matt Kemp received nothing of value. The trades centered on return parts that were DFA’d.
            .
            He has no value. He produces, but not at a level to offset his cost.

          2. Really? He has no value.

            I disagree. Let me tell you why. I just checked DH stats and looked at the top 7. Kemp’s projections for next year would place him third in OPS. And those projections were made with him also playing outfield. If he only hit, I think he could outperform those projections. If he could repeat his ’16 numbers he would be the second best DH in the league. And at $18 million, where would he fall on the list of highest paid designated hitters? Not even close to the top.

            On the right team, he could EASILY earn $18 million.

            Former Dodger Anthopoulus did the Dodgers a huge favor.

          3. Badger.

            You are trying to create value. You are trying to create a reason for a team to find use for him. Finding use is finding value.

            ANY TEAM could have had Kemp for Nothing. Any AL team. Any NL team. ANY TEAM. Nobody wanted him. Nobody could use him. Something unwanted is something without use is something unvalued.

            This is not arguable. This is reality. We have seen what Kemp has now twice been traded for. It is NOTHING. Literally contracts that are dropped.

            I am not saying he doesn’t produce. I am not saying he will not produce. I am saying that his production is not outweighing his cost.

          4. Bluto you’re not hearing me.

            Or maybe you are just missing the point.

            Kemp can still hit. What he can’t do is play defense. It is the defensive metrics that drop his value to ZERO! The ONLY person who doesn’t recognize this is MATT KEMP! He doesn’t want to be a DH so he is refusing that assignment. Somebody needs to slap some sense into him. Where is his agent on this?

            If Kemp continues to refuse a trade to an American League team then he is an idiot and deserves to be DFA’d. I got a feeling FAZ will convince those who have influence on him that unless he wants to be cast into extinction he will turn his focus into becoming nothing but a stone cold hitter. They did this for a reason and Kemp needs to get on board or become jetsam. I’ve posted his stats and what he is paid and compared to guys like Pujols he’s a bargain.

            Matt I hope you are listening. Adapt, migrate or die.

          5. I hear you fully Badger.

            What you are saying is conjecture or of speculative value . If A happens than B’s intrinsic value would rise above zero.

            You might be right, you might be wrong. When he is ready to read your words or accept a DH role, the market will re-evaluate him.

            But it may not happen, and if it does it will happen in the future. Right now, and since the Olivera trade Kemp has and has had ZERO VALUE.

  4. This trade came out of no where. They was no rumors or anything else. Wonder if they talked about this at the meetings.

    1. I would have to agree with Badger, the Braves did the Dodgers a huge favor. But, the Braves will also benefit from this. Smart move on both sides.

      Now, what to do with Kemp? Unless someone offers something interesting for Kemp, keeping him solves the LF conundrum. Who can match his numbers at the plate that could be played in LF and switching at CF? This is a completely different team that he will join. He is not the top dog any longer and represents no threat in the clubhouse. Bellinger gets to play at 1B, his natural position, and we have already have backups for LF.

      The only player I will miss watching is Culberson. He played great in the clutch and should be a starting infielder on the Braves. Agon was a great Dodger but nostalgia is not enough to keep a player who is past his prime and has physical problems. He’s had a good career and is rich. No one would prefer Agon over Bellinger at this time, let’s face it.

      Dodgers are looking good once again. Now, to tune the rotation………..

  5. The Braves blog like this trade very much and laud Anthopoulos for clearing Kemp’s contract as it gives them room to be a player in 2018 FA bonanza, while clearing a spot for their number 1 prospect who’s an OF, Acuna, They also view McCarthy and a Kazmir as good 1 year bridges to their pitching prospects.

    I am very happy about this trade as well – good FOs need to clear clutter and we did. I still think they are a notch below the top FOs but this is a good deal.

    This deal was probably already in the works before the winter meetings, during the Stanton talks … this explains why they were not all in on Stanton and wanted the Marlins to take AGon or Kazmir … taking on Kemp and Stanton’s salary would have been too much.

    Now I think they will try to package a deal to the AL for Kemp. There is no way he will be playing for the Dodgers.

    1. I think you’re right. But I don’t think McKaz will bring much value to them. They are both fragile as hell and are a year older. I find it impossible to believe that Kemp wouldn’t realize it’s time to burn his glove and devote 24/7 to becoming the best DH in baseball. He could do it if he set his mind to it. Maybe he is that stupid. Or maybe he is just bull headed. Whatever. Somebody needs to get through to him. He’s only 33. He could hit for 5 more years if he cared enough.

  6. Bluto and to a lesser extent Badger, just because a contract is not tradeable at a point in time does not mean the player does not have value. Further, when a contract cannot be traded, it sometimes happens because the underlying player has value and the team is asking for too much. We don’t know whether the Braves or the Padres, in years past, were willing to pay for part of the contract or package it with some prospects, or whether the Braves were looking to take on additional players, or not. It is best to separate the player’s value vs. the contract’s value, and note especially that the contract’s value varies with time. Just because a contract is hard to trade at a point in time does not mean it is not tradeable at another time. Some felt years ago that Puig has no value because they tried to trade him for 2 years with no takers. Well things have changed. Similarly with Kemp, and you know what, he was traded, so it is up to the FOs to get the right deals at the right times.

    And finally an expiring contract has value in and of itself especially with lux tax penalties – as we are witnessing here with this trade with the Braves. Basketball has been doing this for almost two decades, it is about time that MLB has caught up.

    1. YF

      I think your right about that.

      The Braves designated Agone for assignment right away, today.

      And the Dodgers have not done the same with Kemp yet.

      And even the guy that created saber metrics, doesn’t believe War numbers, mean as much, as some think.

    2. YF,

      I’m not actually sure what you are saying.

      A player’s value is directly impacted by his contract. They are not separate values, and should not be separated. In professional sports production is matched up with compensation. When teams EVALUATE (which means find value in) players they have production (or future production) on one side of the ledger and cost (and future cost) on the other. This is simple stuff.

      Kemp has no value. I KNOW this because he has twice been traded for nothing. (If you would argue that McCarthy, and Culbertson’s value are slightly higher than the cash considerations and I would probably agree and change my statement to minimal or slightly above zero value. But nobody is.)

      EVERYTHING’S value shifts with time. Because evaluation is subjective. You rightly cite that Puig had no value years ago, he has value now. I would cite that Kemp had no value when he was traded for the nothing that was Olivera and still has no value when he is traded for (excuse me while I stifle my laughter) Kazmir, Gonzalez, McCarthy, Culbertson and cash.

      One could also argue that evaluation is perhaps the Dodger’s Front Office’s forte. They found value in Chris Taylor that no-one else saw. Ditto Grant Dayton or Andrew Toles. They evaluated Jharel Cotton, Peraza, Olivera, Holmes and others and found it over-valued by others.

      1. You keep saying Kemp has no value. And you are wrong. Read the stats. In the last 4 years he has put up 8.2 oWAR. You have yet to acknowledge that.

        Nobody knows what he might do in an American League lineup. In the right park, in the right lineup, not worrying about working on defense, it’s possible he could hit 35 and knock in 100 again. He’s only 33. Show some faith man.

        I’m thinking FAZ has a plan and it includes convincing Kemp to give DH a chance. It could lengthen his career and save his reputation. Hey, maybe he doesn’t care. If that’s the case, ef him. We pay the $43 million over 2 years.

      2. Bluto, you don’t know what deals Kemp was offered for. No value means something closer to Crawford when he was DFA’d. You are pushing it too far with Kemp. He is tradeable and while you might think very lowly of McCarthy, Kazmir and Culberson, they are not worthless parts (all FAZ “value finds” by the way when they were first obtained and heavily lauded by most FAZophile bloggers). Even if Kemp could contribute nothing we had to give up value for the “privilege” of dealing with Kemp and his two year contract. I think the FBZ thinks they could do a deal with Kemp and an AL team.

        What will be interesting to me will be how the FAZophile bloggers will claim this was a genius move while conveniently forgetting that the oldtimers called both Kazmir and McCarthy horrible signs from the get go. Same with the Gutierrez experiment and I’m not holding my breath on Kohler either unless we picked him up for less than $2 million.

        1. I wrote somewhere that his value is probably better defined as negligible, but “no value” sounds better.

          I’m not alone but n this, as cited Keith Law, who gets paid to analyze, goes ven farther than that do.

          1. Keith Law is also paid to get clicks and pushes it too far every so often. And he’s not looking at a DH scenario unlike many sites out there.

  7. Keith Law thinks less of Kemp than I do:
    http://www.espn.com/blog/keith-law/insider/post?id=7966

    Kemp was less than worthless last year — worthless would imply he was worth zero, I think, and he was actually worse than that, thanks to a .318 OBP and atrocious defense in left. I often describe players as having effortless defense as a term of praise; Kemp’s defense is effortless in the sense that he puts no effort into it. He’s just 32, but over the past three years he has posted a .269/.310/.470 line that would make him essentially an average regular at DH in the American League,

  8. I am at the point where trying to figure out what the hell these guys are thinking is a lost cause. I understand the motives behind the trade. Those are clear. But if they are freeing up money to make a run at say Harper or some one else next year, why take on a contract that will cost you 21.5 next year if you release the guy? Still counts against your over all payroll. Now regardless of what Bluto thinks, Kemp has value as an offensive player. His injury last season had something to do with the drop in production. But the guy can still rake. so yeah, he would probably be better off in the AL. I understand that Freidman has had a discussion with Matt. Pretty well laid out what the plan is. But what the plan is he has not shared with anyone else or announced to the press. Where as the Braves DFA’d Gonzo right away. I am nothing more than a fan, it is not my job to analyze every move the FO makes. I either like or dislike the move. But in reality they have no real effect on me. I have been a fan way to long to get upset about trades anymore whether I agree with them or not. Many years ago when Bavasi traded my hero, Duke Snider to the Mets, I was mad. I no longer have heroes who play sports. So trading A-Gone or anyone else makes no difference in whether or not I am going to root for the team. My heroes are the kids on the front lines who unselfishly put themselves in harms way to protect freedom. They are the only ones who deserve that kind of praise.

      1. Always an argument with you Bluto. All the above mentioned are careers. All are usually well paid for their labors. Those 18-19-20 year olds on the front lines facing bullets and death are doing it for love of country. Whole different ball of wax. I respect the above professions, but they are not heroes. First responders would qualify though.

    1. Same with me Michael and I follow basketball and baseball so it was double the pain for a while.

      As for Kemp, you are absolutely right – the money is still on our books. However I think the FBZ is looking at the lux tax penalty. By getting below it, they can then go over it later with a lesser penalty, a difference of 20 percent. That extra 20% saved could easily come out to more than $20 million alone if they choose to spend the money. I say “if” because I don’t think they will spend it. Now that the lux tax is no longer the go-to excuse, let’s see what the FBZ can do to win it all in 2018 and 2019. If they don’t get the right players to put us over the top, then you know the lux tax threshold wasn’t the big impediment after all and maybe Dodgers fans can take off their blinders and start to appreciate what how the top FOs do things.

      1. I get it. But who do they target? Harpers next contract is going to be obscene even by Stanton’s standards. Machado? Resign Kershaw? I doubt they will want to add close to 300 mil to Kersh’s contract. If he has an injury free year, he will command HUGE money if he opts out, and star power in LA is a huge thing. And I have this thought, this year was their best chance to win it all. The Yankees did so much to make that lineup a monster. Teams are not sitting on their hands. The Dodgers are building for sustained success, but the World Series showed me that the FO is still like a frightened puppy in some ways, they opt for the road less traveled and the smaller risk instead of going for the jugular. This bargain bin mentality is something they have not shed. I understand high reward and low risk, but I think sometimes you have to jump in with both feet and do something bold. That they have yet to do. I do not think signing a premier free agent next winter is going to automatically put them over the top. I think they will win a close fight in the Western Division this year and fall short in the playoffs again. Reason? Everyone has to be as good or better than they were last year. That rarely happens.

      2. YF

        I agree with most everything you said.

        I don’t think some people would feel as negative about the front office, if others, didn’t put them on a such a high pedestal.

        They do some things really well, and they are not as experienced, with other things.

        But that doesn’t mean they can’t get better with the later, and they will gain experience.

        The truth is all front offices, will make mistakes.

        But like YF, I am wondering how differently they will run the team, when with no luxury tax worries.

        I don’t expect them to stop going for these obscure long shots, and that doesn’t bother me, as long as they use the Dodgers other means, to make the team better.

  9. Well, like most of the FAZophants Bluto has it all figured out.

    Production is not value. That sums it up for me. If that’s really the case then I surely don’t understand baseball, or anything else, in today’s world. 60 years of playing and coaching and “obviously” I don’t get it.

    I’ll sum it up this way – Kemp has a decision to make. He’s only 33. Many Major League hitters have produced far beyond that age. He needs to get in shape, stay in shape, and embrace his role as a Major League hitter. He can put up over 2 WAR as a DH, earn his salary and help a team win, or he can pout and disappear into oblivion. I liked him as a Dodger. I think it is horrible he crashed into a wall and never fully recovered. I wish him well.

    1. Badger,

      I have very little figured out, but I can grasp elementary economic concepts.

      Player A has an OPS of 1.000 and is on a rookie contact for 500k
      Player B has an OPS of 1.000 and is 35 and being paid 55 million a year.

      Do both players have the same value? Obviously not, because production is not value. Production is a factor in value.

  10. I am not sure I categorize Bluto as a FAZophant. I don’t think he’s the type of guy to be a fan of anyone (except Rich Hill). He usually agrees with whatever moves the FAZ/FBZ makes, but I think he just agrees with the way they do business.

  11. Family get together today. Lots of good food and company. I hope every one has a great day and that the season brings peace and joy into your lives.

  12. Great discussion so far. Morphs into economic theory and philosophy at times. But production vs value debate goes a little too far into baseball philosophy for me. I think a slim, rejuvenated Kemp has a lot of value and can create competition.

    However I think Kemp won’t play for us. Kemp, and a minor leaguer for a five inning starter. More of the same!

    1. Bluto sounds like a lawyer.

      I’m a fan, not a GM. I am a former coach, not a billionaire team owner. I am blue collar, not an agent in a suit. In my estimation player A and player B mentioned above have the same value to a lineup. If I am a manager, same answer. If I am a teammate, again, same answer.

      As a fan, I wish the best for Kemp. As a fan, I choose to believe Kemp may
      still have value as a hitter.

      I read that the cost of many tickets at Dodger Stadium are skyrocketing. Some season ticket holders have said “Im out”. Dodgers say there is a waiting list. That should make the suits happy.

      1. Change the perspective when you are losing the argument.

        You can have any color collar you want, you’re still wrongo you on this one.

        1. Huh? Colored collar? I’m still wrongo you? wtf?

          You didn’t sound like a lawyer on that one.

          Whatever.

          Got a message from an old friend. He wants to know if you think Kazmir and McCarthy will outperform Kemp. And yeah, we know how much money they all make, we are talking performance, which as you’ve made clear has nothing to do with value.

          Moving on.

          1. I have no clue who will outperform whom. I hope they all do great.

            Actually, to be somewhat ironic, how about if I say:

            “I hope they all provide great value to their respective clubs.”

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