WHAM! BANG! BLOCKBUSTER!

There is a lot to unpackaged on the trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Charlie Culberson for former Dodger darling, Matt Kemp.  Whether Matt Kemp ever plays for the Dodgers again is in question.  He could be flipped to an AL team in need of a DH.  I think he has some value and I cannot just see him being released… unless his clubhouse demeanor is worse than I think… and I think it was pretty bad, but I also think like Andre Ethier, he may have grown up to some degree.

TAKE 1: FAZ Dumped over $30 million in salary for 2018 which gets them under the luxury tax threshold and means they could sign a big free agent next year (like Harper) if they want. Harry Houdini never got out of anything like this!  This is one for the books.  I am somewhat at a loss for words.

TAKE 2:  I could see Kemp being flipped to a team who needs a DH, thus saving up to another $21 million and allowing a Yu Darvish to be acquired.  Kemp could be flipped but I cannot see FAZ taking on a 5 to 6 year contract for Darvish.

TAKE 3:  I could see Kemp staying and platooning in LF with Andrew Toles or Joc Pederson, who would also be his late-inning caddy. He could be rejuvenated back in LA and be a model citizen in the clubhouse and a platoon with Kemp and Toles or Joc could be very potent.  Kike stays as the super-sub.

TAKE 4: FAZ could then trade Verdugo and Alvarez for Gerrit Cole who is controllable through 2020 and cheaper than Darvish.  Darvish doesn’t cost prospects but will demand a big long-term deal.  I see Cole being a better option.  They still may have to move Grandal to keep under the $197 MILLION Luxury Tax Threshold.

TAKE 5: LA will be under the $197 threshold this year – that is a given NOW!

TAKE 6: Trayce Thompson was saved.

TAKE 7:  No mater whether Kemp stays or goes, this is an incredible deal!  Gonzo could end his career in SD or maybe come back to LA. The later would seem unlikely, but it is possible. Never underestimate THE FAZ!

This is epic!  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

 

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 68 Comments

  1. Interesting comment by Blake Coble on “Dodgers Nation”—
    Certainly the biggest part of this entire trade is the money aspect. Ultimately the trade appears to be cash neutral overall. But for the 2018 season the Dodgers appear to be under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. If this indicates anything, it shows the front office knows how to get creative, and is ready to reset the luxury tax penalties this year. We could witness a full commitment to the youth on our roster this year.

  2. I am really impressed. The salaries even out between the 2 teams since Kemp is under contract for 2 years but the Dodgers dump more salary this year. Brilliant!

    Do you think that Friedman’s previous relationship with Anthopolous might have helped the transaction along?

    Most speculation is that Kemp doesn’t stay due to his bad defense. Maybe – but he is still a good RH power bat who can play LF well enough and can be replaced for defense when needed. Or he can be flipped to an AL team who needs a DH and can save a little more salary.

    More transactions? Only if they don’t cause a luxury tax problem.

  3. The trade free’s up space on the 40 man roster. Wonder if Yoshi Hirano is the next reliever they sign.

  4. The mad scientists (FAZ) are working their magic. I suspect we will see a full commitment to the graduation and steady stream of minor leaguers to the big squad (Buehler, Oaks, Sierra, Smith, Ruiz, Santana and more) over the next several years with an occasional FA signing. The Dodgers will be a team made up mostly of organizationally drafted and developed players, along with an occasional acquired big leaguer in trade. and FA.

    I absolutely love this trade and can’t wait to see what the rest of the off season will bring us.

  5. I won’t even try to guess the next move, but if this has the Dodgers. under the the CBT, there is no way I see them doing anything to put them back over. As Mark would say, that would be felony stupid.

    I still like Grandal as part of our catching corps, but I can still see him being moved to free up even more money to create even more flexibility for another deal. Maybe in a deal for Gerit Cole, or something else.

    And yes, this deal is epic. Stay tuned, I’m sure there’s more to come, maybe soon, maybe later.

    And one other thing. This is better than acquiring Stanton.

    1. The first deal for Gonzalez was called the Punto trade this one can be called the Culberson trade. Kemp. won’t be wanted in the locker room

    2. We will agree to disagree on the Stanton. point. If this gets done a week ago they’re at least players for Stanton. Of course they would have still had to deal Kemp. Thank You Alex A.

  6. Yes I do believe that FAZ’s relationship with AA had a lot to do with this. This is a great trade for both teams. The Dodgers get out from luxury tax hell, and the Braves get a look at McCarthy and Kazmir, a utility infielder in Culberson, and most importantly Kemp is moved to open a spot for Acuna.
    .
    I wonder if the Dodgers can move Kemp to Boston who are looking for any power. Or Toronto? How about A-Gon to Boston? A-Gon to NYY?
    .
    Can the Dodgers move Ryu, a reliever, and prospects for Gerrit Cole? That would give the Dodgers a solid top of the rotation pitcher and no additional salary.
    .
    Trayce Thompson only got a reprieve. While the Dodgers opened some 40 man spots, they did not eliminate an OF. He is still #6 behind CT3, Puig, Kike’, Toles, and Joc.
    .
    The Dodgers are going to stay under the luxury tax threshold, so no Darvish. Any trade will need to be salary neutral, even if it means an extra prospect.
    .
    FAZ is not done. Never underestimate their ability to see the big picture and plan for it. This was brilliant

  7. Faz pulled a rabbit out of their hat on this trade. It frees up salary, moves unwanted pieces out, gives three 40 man spots (one will be used on Koehler) and leaves multiple prospects for additional moves if desired. If Kemp is retained then LF is pretty crowded, have to see how that shakes out. I am all done making predictions until about mid spring training when it all becomes more clear but I like it a lot.

  8. Kemp’s story is amazing. He has twice been traded for nothing. He has no value. The market has proven it.
    `
    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.”

  9. This was indeed a brilliant move. What’s next? I like AC’s suggestion of Ryu, etc to Pittsburgh for Cole. That makes a lot of sense for both teams.
    .
    Also, a team that could use a power hitting outfielder/DH would be the Orioles. Perhaps now we can swing a trade to get one of their relievers and Hunter Harvey.
    .
    It’s trades like this that make me glad that FAZ is leading this organization and that we no longer have Colletti in charge. It also makes me realize that its a lot easier to arm chair quarterback the decisions made by the front office than it is to run one on a day to day basis and make these type of decisions. Frankly, I would not have thought of this trade in a 100 years.
    .
    The off-season just got a whole lot more interesting.

  10. from Andy McCullough:

    Andrew Friedman: “I hadn’t noticed. Is there a big free-agent class next winter?”

    :0)

  11. Would this/Should this end all TRADE talk?
    I hope Segedin gets a look see again ST.
    OK time for my post op meds and a lil nirvana.

  12. I’m sure Pittsburgh will ask for all it can get, since it doesn’t have to trade GC. But, as we know, asking for and receiving are two different things.

  13. Shocked with this deal really. FAZ cut the Gordian knot of the immovable contracts.
    Waiting for the next move – hopefully a SP

  14. Sure they’ll flip Matt somewhere. Clearing the decks for the big free agent clearance of 2018. Future bright.

  15. Oh. My. Word. FAZ moved three un-moveable contracts in one move. Brilliant!

    Something odd is going on with Gonzo to approve this trade. I wonder if we’ll ever find out.

    1. He says he wants to play beyond 2018 and realized he wasn’t going to get much playing time with the Dodgers. Now he still gets paid 21.5 million, can sign with any team and play for one last contract. A long shot indeed but he had no shot if he remained with the Dodgers and got 1 start per week. It’s a good move on his part especially if he signs with an AL team and is used as a DH. He might be able to extend his playing days if he hits and stays off his feet for long stretches by playing defense. I’m glad he waived his 10/5 trades rights allowing the Dodgers to move on without an ugly situation.

  16. I’ll stand by what I said before. This is better than Stanton. I seriously doubt if the Dodgers had any serious interest in acquiring his 10 remaining years, especially since he’ll be in his hate thirties in the final year. That’s exactly what the Dodgers are trying to avoid.

    Maybe after next season the Dodgers will consider Harper and/or Machado (both younger than Stanton, and who might still be producing after s decade). And maybe not. I think circumstances at that time will dictate what they might do, It’s very conceivable to me that they may well let Kershaw walk if he opts out.

    For now I wouldn’t even try to guess what the future holds. Too many variables. But whatever happens, I’m confident that we have the right people making the decisions.

    1. The Dodgers were interested at their price and that was unloading about $50 million dollars in contracts and getting some cash back from Miami. Stanton is only costing the Yankees $22 million a year.

  17. Again Freidman and Zaidi show me how fortunate we Dodger fans are to have these two men. This was indeed a brilliant move, but I’m hoping they have no thought in keeping Kemp.
    The Dodgers may go after Cole, but Pittsburgh will want a few top prospects and I don’t see that happening.

  18. If what Bluto says is true (that Kemp has no value), then Kemp will be a Dodger next year. .. at least for a while. The Dodgers would have $42 million reasons to see if he has anything left. Matt Kemp was a moody prima donna when he played for the Dodgers. Then he was traded to SD where he was subsequently run out of town for a bad attitude. He ended up in Atlanta, who was/is rebuilding and also had a bad attitude. Do you see a pattern here?

    People can change. It doesn’t mean that Kemp will, but I have talked to him and found him to be gracious and kind at times while being dismissive and aloof at others. I’m not saying he can change, but if he has no value right now, I do not see FAZ releasing him when they have $42 million wrapped up in his contract.

    I suspect he has SOME value, maybe it’s $5 million a year (that’s and arbitrary number). We do know that no one would pay him $21 million for one year, because if they would have Atlanta would have done that deal instead of the deal with the Dodgers. I suspect that if FAZ can get some team to take him and agree to pay $8 to $10 million, they would do it.

    A-Gon had ZERO Value, which is why AJ released him immediately. Kemp has “some” value.” FAZ is trying to trade him, but WHAT IF he shows up to Spring Training in great shape with a new attitude and a short leash? What do they have to lose? Defense is a big part want to or desire. Being on two teams who were habitual losers probably sapped his want to.

    What if he starts the season hot and a AL team needs a DH? His value could go up. What am saying is: I have no idea if he gets moved or plays for the Dodgers next year! No Idea! It doesn’t seem like a FAZonian move to allow him to stay … after all, you can never go home… can you?

    1. I agree Mark, in that I suspect that if the Braves could have traded Kemp without taking back a comparable amount of salary, they would have done so. Therefore, the Dodgers probably won’t be able to trade Kemp without keeping much of his salary plus the Dodgers don’t need rotation depth, questionable as it was, like the Braves did.
      .
      The Dodgers fared better against lefty pitchers last year and much of that success was due to Forsythe and Taylor plus Turner fixing his splits. Puig was actually benched against lefties last year he was so bad. An outfield of Kemp, Hernandez, and Taylor against lefties might be needed.
      .
      Would Machado be willing to play second for the Dodgers?

  19. In case you did not read it, here’s what A-Gon said:

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Just as I thought: PURE CLASS! What a great man! Godspeed, Adrian Gonzalez! I didn’t like THE TRADE, but I loved you! I hope you retire a Dodger.

    This closes the door on THE TRADE!

  20. The TRADE would be even more complete if the Dodgers traded Kemp to Boston.
    .
    Kemp’s defensive metrics were made worse by the huge area a left fielder has to cover in Atlanta. The opposite would be the case in Boston plus Kemp could DH in Boston.

      1. Boston wants a good hitter. If the Dodgers get $15 million back over two years from anyone they would be thrilled and throw in some prospects.

  21. Ok first off I am happy with the trade. Getting below the luxury tax is huge. I’m not sure I totally understand would somebody enlighten me. We get under the luxury tax but Atlanta doesn’t take on any contracts. People are saying that they don’t understand why Atlanta would do this. I think they made a great deal. They don’t take on salary they are now able to play their prospect Acuna and have a possible starter or 2 and they will be through with the contracts this year if I understand it. They also could possibly flip Mccarthy or Kazmir at the deadline while having a quality backup in Culberson. The Braves did well. The dodgers get under the salary cap which I will assume they stay under intentionally to save them approximately 35-40 million in 2018. I’m a little shaky on 2019 with people saying they have the cash to go for free agents. You still have kemp, plus Kershaw increase maybe, yo would then go right back over the luxury tax probably at a rate of 20%. I guess the savings is what it would have been which I can’t do the math and what it will actually be. Of course whatever moves in between will factor. Maybe a trade of kemp will help, I believe he has power and with the right conditioning and attitude he could help. But, what effect will he have in the clubhouse with a guy like Puig etc. for now, I think it was a big win win for both teams while moves going forward could make it even better.

    1. One of the chief things that getting below $197 million does… if even for just a year is re-sets the luxury tax penalty… so that if they have to go over it in 2019, it will not be 95%.

    2. Atlanta takes on all of the contracts sent there. MCCarthy and Culberson can help them next year. If the Dodgers go over in 2019 the penalty won’t be as much because they won’t be repeat defenders.

  22. As of right now, the Dodgers have a luxury tax payroll of about $180M or $17M below the threshold. This includes Matt Kemp at his full $20M AAV. The Dodgers look to save $22.7M next year with losing Forsythe ($9M), Grandal ($7.7M), and Ryu ($6M). Seager goes into arbitration year #1, and Puig is eligible for arbitration. While Puig has a current luxury tax hit of $6M, his salary is about $9M, so arbitration will be north of $11M. So let’s say that Seager and Puig will eat up Grandal’s arbitration plus plus, and the true savings will be around $12M. In addition, the luxury tax threshold increases by $9M in 2019.
    .
    Therefore, the Dodgers could be south of the luxury tax threshold for 2019 by nearly $38M – $40M. What would it take to extend Kershaw? 4 more years at $35M per which would take him through his age 36? With his current balance at $66 for 2 years, that is $206M for 6 years. CK would still be under the old contract and his $30M AAV for two years, and would increase to $35M starting with 2020. So no luxury tax impact until 2020 when the Kemp contract is up.
    .
    While I like Harper, I see no reason for a $40M hit for 10 years, or another $30M hit for 10 years with Machado. If the Dodgers are convinced Puig is legit, then look to extend him next year. Then look to sign Seager and Bellinger to take them out of a couple years of free agency. Otherwise just let them go through arbitration and deal with Boras when they become free agents.
    .
    With all of Buehler, White, Urias, Alvarez, Santana, Ferguson, and May all due up between 2018 and 2020, the starting rotation should be solid, with some of those going into the bullpen.
    .
    Where I would think the Dodgers will look next year will be at 2B. I still think DJ Lemahieu would be a great Dodger addition at 2B. Daniel Descalso as a LH hitting utility inf would also be a good addition. FAZ will not spend on Miller/Kimbrel/Britton/Robertson, nor do I think they need to. If Kershaw has his heart on finishing his career in Dallas, I could see the Dodgers looking at Keuchel for their Ace, but I am holding out all hope that Kershaw will extend with the Dodgers.
    .
    I would still like to see the Dodgers try to trade for Gerrit Cole, and look to extend him sometime during the year. Kershaw/Cole/Buehler/Urias/Wood/Oaks for 2019 and beyond? With Belly/Lemahieu/Seager/JT/Verdugo/CT3/Puig/Barnes. And they will be under the luxury tax and a boatload of ML ready players in the system. The future looks bright indeed for the Dodgers, beginning in 2018.

      1. In my reading of the luxury tax, and seemingly confirmed by both Eric Stephen and Cots, is that only those on the 40 man roster count towards the luxury tax. Arruebarrena and Sierra may be lost dollars, but not for luxury tax purposes.

  23. You can bet FAZ is working the phones and will be to see what they can get for Kemp. There is no rush, but if any team needs a DH, the sooner the better.

    FAZ got rid of him once and his attitude was 50% of it. The contract was the other 50%. Friedman says he has talked to Matt. Has he asked him if he can come back and Show up, Step Up and Shut Up?

    Over the last couple of days, I have watched some video on Buehler, White, May and Santana and I happen to believe than Santana could be a very good set-up man NOW!

  24. Kershaw would be wise to not opt out if he misses 10+ starts due to back problems. Also, if he doesn’t excel in the playoffs, he might not get that many huge offers if he opts out.
    .
    A 2010 rotation of Buehler, Urias, Alvarez, Wood, Stewart/Oaks that is backed up by White, Santana, Fergusen, and May would continue effort to keep the Dodgers young.

    1. Kershaw turns 30 next year, and has $65M guaranteed for years 31 and 32. Unless CK goes down with season ending surgery, he will get a contract offer guaranteeing him far more than $100M. Unless the Dodgers extend him before he opts out, Kershaw will opt out, and then the Dodgers will be in a bidding war. What he has done in the post season will have no affect on his contract. David Price has a worse post season record and it did not hurt his $200M+ contract. Even if he experiences a reduction in starts, I would expect a minimum 175% to 200% increase in his $65M guarantee, and it will be up to the Dodgers to meet it. You can bet that Texas will go ALL OUT to get Kershaw with their new stadium due to open in 2020.

  25. I would trade for one year of Machado. He wants to play short but he would have to wait a year. I would send the Orioles Forsyth, Pederson, Stripling, kemp, Baez, for Machado, Britton, and Trumbo. This would cost the Dodgers about 9 -10 mil and give them a reliever and a rental great second baseman, and the orioles would get salary relief, a quality 2nd baseman, a young starting pitcher, a replacement for Britton, and a left handed power bat, plus a dh. I would give them 5 million in 2019 to offset Kemp’s salary. This would cost the Dodgers 10 mil over 2 years roughly. Forsythe 9, Pederson 2, kemp 21.5, Stripling baez 2(estimate)= 34.5 mil and the orioles Machado 17 + Britton 11+ Trumbo 11= 39 mil then I would flip Trumbo to someone in the American League or whoever would take him. I would work hard to get Machado for one year even if he didn’t resign but if we had him we might have a better chance to resign him. I used numbers that I thought were correct but I am not sure,

  26. Clayton Kershaw is my favorite baseball player. That said, I’m not sure I extend him. The back will only get worse if he doesn’t fix it. Fix it and I’m not sure teams will make the investment? I hope he plays out his current deal and goes into the Hall of Fame as a Dodger. Opt out? I hope he honors his current contract. Only the health gods know what will happen!

  27. All the MLB and ESPN muckymucks are saying FAZ is possibly targeting Lorenzo Cain as free agent, or McCutcheon in a trade. Hmmm, sounds interesting, but after the last couple of days, I bet even the “analysts” don’t have a clue to what FAZ has up their sleeves next. Great theater.. Gotta love it, I am so glad and flat out relieved these guys are in our front office. Would not want to have anyone else in this day and age. GO FAZ!!

    1. When things get slow, they just make up stuff.

      I am pretty sure no one knows what is coming next. I am also sure FAZ has checked in on Cain and Cutch… just to keep the bidding honest.

    2. I would think FAZ would want to move Kemp before they added Cain. I think they will sign Abel before they sign Cain.

    3. With respect to signing players who have received qualifying offers, per the new CBA, if the signing team paid the luxury tax in the previous season (includes the Dodgers), the team gives up its second-highest and fifth-highest draft picks and $1MM of international bonus pool money in the next int’l signing period (which opens on July 2).
      .
      I do not see the Dodgers signing Lorenzo Cain or any other player who received a qualifying offer. Those include, Jake Arrieta, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Carlos Santana. Of those nine, only Santana has signed.

      1. I do not see the Dodgers signing Lorenzo Cain or any other player who received a qualifying offer. Those include, Jake Arrieta, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Carlos Santana. Of those nine, only Santana has signed.

        I wholeheartedly agree with AC on this. WhileFAZ never say they won’t sign those players, because they have to “be in” to keep the price up, they will not sign ANY of those players. PERIOD!

  28. Alot of whinning and complaining as been directed at this front office. But in my view FAZ is doing exactly what they have been hired to do, 1) care for the interest of the owners and 2) put a great team on the field for the pleasure and delight of Dodger Baseball fans. Seeing these guys work is almost as much fun as watching the Boys in Blue.
    Dodger fans are pretty fortunate catch the show.

  29. Gallardo on the Brewers.
    Kemp on the Dodgers.
    Pablo on the Giants.
    Headley on the Padres.
    Its 2013 all over again

  30. Bum, I like it…
    Bobo you nailed it, although it hurts a little…
    It just seemed like a couple years ago Santana was in the Blue system trying to be a catcher as I recall!? Good golly he’s making some cheddar now… I’m happy for him…

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