Matt Kemp trade proposals

Matt Kemp trade proposals

Matt Kemp…oh boy, where do we start?

First and foremost, Matt Kemp came into the 2017 season down about 25 pounds. He was leaner, quicker, healthier, and ripped the frickin’ cover off of the ball… for a while. Through June 2nd, at 42 games played, he was one of the best hitters in the league with a crazy good slash line: .351/.387/.614. That’s a 1.001 OPS that included 10HR and 16 doubles.  All was right in the world, but it was a mirage.

Not enough words can describe how bad Kemp was from 6/3 and on.  Put mildly, he was Danny Santana career numbers bad: .634 OPS to go along with the worst OF defense in the Major Leagues. He obviously wasn’t healthy, yet the manager decided to run him out there every day despite the numbers. Kemp has health issues that will be present for the rest of his life, not just his baseball career, and that’s unfortunate for him. However, from a baseball perspective, he just cannot maintain health throughout a season if he’s asked to play OF daily. His body cannot do it. Therefore, the inevitable needs to happen and that is Kemp goes to the AL to become a regular DH where he can utilize daily exercise to maintain weight and health.

So, that’s where we start.  Kemp’s contract is a cancer to the Braves, but it doesn’t have to be a cancer to an AL team as he’s still a valuable bat that, if healthy, can be a difference maker. But we all know that the money he’s making, along with the production he had from 6/3 on will not make his presence on a team desirable. Luckily for the Braves, there are other teams of which have contracts they’d like to get rid of as well. With the best farm in baseball, the Braves can afford to attach a few lesser prospects (or former fallen prospects) to deals to put Kemp in a place where he can succeed and grab a need back as well. Ready to get started?

I sent out a PM on twitter to submit ideas on a Matt Kemp bad contract trade and there were many submissions and here’s how the game works.  Tommy, Stephen, and I have chosen 1 each from the peanut gallery to discuss, and 1 each from our own noggins, so 6 total.  Each person that submitted a PM to me, I’ll provide their trade ideas at the bottom so each person, even if not selected, can have a talking point either here or on Twitter.  You guys ready?  I’ll take on the challenge first

Ryan’s Selection from the Peanut Gallery for a Matt Kemp Trade

There were a lot of submissions of which I liked, but the one thing I kept coming back to was how untradeable Matt Kemp is at this juncture.  Any team out there knows that he’s got to DH, and he might not even do it as well as other players said team could pick up on the cheap. Therefore, I had to throw this into the equation and I looked for 2 things:

  1. A team not looking to contend.
  2. A team that has a bad contract.

These 2 were my priority for picking the deal which led me to a great Braves follow. Here goes nothing!

By Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Provided by Doc aka @BravesHerbert

Royals get Kemp, Markakis, and Kyle Muller

Braves get Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria

The Royals are essentially going to lose everything they’ve held dear for the past 6 years and they’ll be looking to rebuild and shed some $. Unfortunately, Alex Gordon‘s contract is an albatross and they desperately need to rid themselves of it to make way for future plans. Packaging him with Soria brings back a real prospect in Muller and accelerates both their rebuild monetarily and in Minor League talent.

The Braves get a solid relief pitcher that can hold down back-end innings and Alex Gordon, a talented defensive outfielder whose offensive numbers have plummeted. Also, if this is a straight cash swap, it means the Braves are taking on an extra 28MM in salary over the course of the contract. Yes, it’s risky, but take this into consideration: Alex Gordon thrived under Braves current hitting coach, including his best offensive year to date where he OPS’d .879. Maybe under his tutelage again he can provide useful at-bats while manning left field. If not, he can always be platooned and still provide that well above average defense.

Ryan’s Matt Kemp Trade Idea

Red Sox get Matt Kemp

Braves get Rusney Castillo

Ok, so throw out the aforementioned rules and insert an asterisk and that asterisk is *dead money*. Rusney Castillo is owed right at 38 million dollars over the next 3 years and he’s not even on the Red Sox 40-man roster. In fact, he’s only seen 99 games of action in the Major Leagues, none of which came last year. So yes, he’s getting paid serious cash to play in the Minor Leagues. I think a change of scenery might be needed for both the Red Sox and Castillo. Here’s why I think that’s a possibility:

  1. The Red Sox outfield has no opening with Jackie Bradley Jr, Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts together at least 4 more years.
  2. Hanley Ramirez is slated to take over at 1B with Mitch Moreland becoming a free agent.
  3. The money owed to Kemp is the same as is owed to Castillo, therefore if Kemp comes and flops, they can eat the contract, which was likely with Castillo already.

Braves could weigh how to use Castillo as his numbers were really good at AAA, but his numbers against LHP were elite therefore a platoon could make more sense.  He’s strong enough defensively to man all 3 positions so there’s plenty of options that could work for a role: platoon partner, regular starter, seriously expensive 4th OFer.

Tommy’s Selection from the Peanut Gallery for a Matt Kemp Trade

This entire crowdsource “Trade Kemp” idea has its beginning with a series of offers sent to me by a friend and avid Braves fan all the way out in Hawaii. I’ve known Bryce for, jeez, a decade now and he’s one of my trusted sources on pitching. A former pitcher himself, it was a surprise that the offer we chose from him didn’t include an arm coming back to Atlanta. Instead, Bryce went the route of attaching some pieces with Kemp in hopes of just getting rid of Kemp’s salary. Let’s dive into his offer.

Provided by Bryce S. from the Facebook Group.

A’s get Matt Kemp, Jose Ramirez, and Joey Wentz

Braves get Dustin Garneau

What in the fresh hell is this? Who or what is Dustin Garneau?

Garneau is a 30-year-old catcher with 277 career plate appearances between Colorado and Oakland. He doesn’t have much in terms of framing numbers, has a career .255 wOBA, was claimed off waivers last summer for nothing, and has one option remaining. But this deal isn’t about Garneau. He’s Triple-A depth if he even gets that far before the Braves Tony Sanchez him.

This deal is effectively the Touki Toussaint deal from the other side with Garnaeu playing the role of Philip Gosselin. In Bryce’s deal, he packages an impressive right-hander with a lot of potential with a high-priced asset hoping to get the other side to take the contract just to acquire a top prospect. Ramirez is icing on the cake to help an A’s bullpen that had a 4.41 FIP in the second half after dealing relief aces Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle.

What I am struggling with is how Matt Kemp fits in with the A’s. No team wants to be forced to play him in left field, which leaves DH – a position played mostly by Ryon Healy in the second half. Healy is miscast as a third baseman and unlikely to keep Matt Olson out of the starting lineup at first base. More, Healy is effectively a Kempian player – good hit tool, low walk rate, big pop. He costs, oh, $21 million less to boot. You could argue that acquiring Kemp could free up the A’s to repurpose Healy or even Olson in a trade to acquire pitching. That’s fair enough.

I understand why the Braves make this move. I’ve long thought they would have to go down the Touki/Bronson Arroyo route to get Kemp moved without covering most of his salary. The problem with a straight comparison to that trade – one of Coppy’s finest – is that Arroyo was a one-year commitment. Taking on Kemp would be a two-year commitment. That means, for two years, the A’s would have Kemp taking up a quarter of their suggested payroll.

No deal lives in a vacuum. You can see how acquiring Kemp could lead to the A’s being able to potentially add a starter they can use this season via trade because of surplus assets. But even if you believe that could happen, I can’t imagine Billy Beane gets talked into this one. Not without serious financial support coming his way – negating much of the purpose of taking back a no-name non-prospect and attaching Wentz to the deal.

Tommy’s Matt Kemp Trade Idea

Two teams are saddled with large contracts. Both would rather move on completely from these hefty contracts, but most teams laugh at your feeble calls to organize a deal. Finally, the two teams get in touch with one another and start to think “one person’s trash is another person’s…less smelly trash?” The two teams start to believe in the old cliche about a player needing a change of scenery. Bam! – you have yourself a bad contract swap.

Braves get Ian Kennedy, $6M

Royals get Matt Kemp, Lucas Sims

By Erik Drost on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In my deal, neither team is really excited about their haul. From the Royals side, they not only add salary to their 2018 and 2019 payrolls but also will need to fork over an additional $6 million. However, what they do get is a potential answer to a real weakness. In 2017, designated hitters for the Royals slashed a miserable .192/.271/.389. No AL team was as offensively inept from a position specifically focused on offense. Kemp may not be the MVP candidate he once was, but he could definitely outproduce the ugliness the Royals trotted out at DH last season. He could also help to replace one of the bats they likely will lose this offseason with franchise cornerstones Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas all hitting free agency at the same time.

What’s that? The Royals should rebuild? Yes, they absolutely should. Even if the Royals do decide to rebuild, the Kemp offer could still work for them. A quick rebuild takes 3-4 seasons – Kemp’s salary would be gone by then. If the Royals bring back one of their star free agents, Kemp gives them some degree of offense to add to Whitt Merrifield and Salvador Perez as the Royals hope Alex Gordon bounces back and Jorge Bonifacio or Jorge Soler can add to the mix.

In addition, they add a young arm capable of plugging into a rotation that relied on Jason Vargas and Jason Hammel to start 64 games last year. It probably surprised you to find out either started one game in 2017. Sims may be a better fit in the pen, but similar to the Touki/Arroyo mix we talked about in Bryce’s deal, the Braves are trying to push a deal across the finish line by attaching a pitching prospect. This deal is also comparable to the Chris Johnson for Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher deal where the Braves sought to clear the financial ledger quicker by taking on bigger salaries, but for fewer years.

Meanwhile, the Braves add a starter who not only needs a change of scenery, but also a new-found focus on inducing weak contact. We all must grow up eventually and realize we aren’t the same guy we were when we were 27. For Kennedy, it’s time to embrace change and there is a model of that change hitting the free agent market this offseason. A few years ago, C.C. Sabathia looked like a goner, but he gave up trying to hit 95 mph again and accepted his limitations. He developed his cutter, a rarely used pitch before 2016, and began to utilize it as often as any other pitch. His control of the cutter helped to turn the tide on a big problem – not enough contact graded as a soft. Or, to put it another way, Sabathia started to get more weak grounders instead of slashed liners. The former turns into outs at a higher rate.

That could be Kennedy. He started to throw his cutter more last year, but still throws his four-seam fastball entirely too often. If he’s able to re-invent himself and increase the Soft contact, he could be a good innings eater at the bottom of a rotation that will hopefully be led by young guns like Luiz Gohara and Sean Newcomb. Keeping the Hard contact to a minimum is very important. The last year Kennedy had a Hard% under 35%, he had a 3.4 fWAR (2014). He’ll be 33 years-old in December and could be a useful arm provided he changes things about his pitching style.

Meanwhile, his contract, while more expensive and longer than Kemp’s, allows for more financial maneuvering due to a lower average annual cost ($16-$16.5M versus $21.5M). Further, by getting $6M, the Braves can lower their commitment a bit more.

This is not a sexy deal. The most likely outcome is that neither the Braves or Royals look great from this deal. But there is a chance one or both clubs benefit from this move. And frankly, that’s better than each club probably feels right now.

Stephen’s Selection from the Peanut Gallery for a Matt Kemp Trade

Provided by Brandon aka 

Before I jump into this, I want to make one thing clear. In my opinion, the best thing Atlanta can do with Matt Kemp is cut him. The reason they’re in this mess to begin with is that they failed to just cut their losses from a bad move and instead doubled down on a bigger contract. Just cut him. It’s quick and simple.

But that’s not the point of this exercise. The point of this exercise is to see if there’s a way to get rid of Kemp and either save some of the money the Braves owe him or transfer that money to a more useful piece. Is it likely? No. But it’s fun to come up with possibilities and we could all use a little more fun in our lives.

So with that, let’s jump into Brandon’s idea:

Royals get Matt Kemp, Cristian Pache, and Ian Anderson+15MM

Braves get Whit Merrifield

The unfortunate truth is, no one wants Matt Kemp. He’s old. He’s fat. He’s expensive. And he’s not very good at baseball. There’s this idea out there that he’s unmovable because of his contract. But that contract has two years and around 36 million left on it. And while that isn’t cheap, it really isn’t that big of a contract. If he was any kind of a decent player, this wouldn’t be that hard. But the reality is he’s a bat-only player who put up a 100 wRC+ last year. It’s hard to market a guy as a potential DH when he’s barely outhitting Nick Markakis.

What this means is you have to give a team an incentive to take him. Brandon’s idea was to use the positive value of Ian Anderson and Christian Pache to offset the negative value of Matt Kemp. But because Pache and Anderson have more positive value than Kemp has negative, Brandon included Whit Merrifield in the deal coming back to Atlanta. Merrifield is a pretty damn good player if you don’t know, so he helps Atlanta immediately.

In its logic, this is sound. You can think of it as two trades if it helps. Anderson is the incentive to take Kemp and Pache is the incentive to get Merrifield. (KC might want more for him)

You could even simplify this idea if you want. Remove Pache and Merrifield from it and shop this Kemp/Anderson combo all over baseball. Some team out there is probably willing to buy a top 75 prospect for 36 million. I’m sure some of you are saying just dump Kemp and keep the prospect but the cold hard truth is, if they don’t want or aren’t allowed to just cut him, this is probably what it’s going to take.

Stephen’s Matt Kemp Trade Idea

*shoutout to Andy aka @chattanoogarage for also submitting a piece similar 

Ian Anderson | Jeff Morris – @JeffMorrisAB

Tigers get Matt Kemp and Ian Anderson

Braves get Jordan Zimmermann.

This trade is pretty cut and dry. Detroit is rebuilding. Jordan Zimmermann has had two really mediocre years with the Tigers and they probably aren’t that interested in paying him the rest of the 74 million they owe him over the next 3 years. Enter Matt Kemp and his 36 million.

Braves trade all of Kemp’s contract for all of Zimmermann’s contract essentially knocking Zimmerman’s deal down to 3 years, 38 million. But once you knock Zimmermann’s commitment down to that level, he’s probably back to having positive trade value which is why there is the inclusion of Anderson. Don’t get hung up on the specific prospect I included as much as just understanding it’s probably going to be a guy around his level. Maybe DET wants a second guy in there too. I don’t know. They’ll probably use the Justin Verlander deal as a template.

For Atlanta, they remove Kemp, get a 31-year-old pitcher who was a 3 WAR player the last time he was in the NL and satisfy their likely need to add a veteran starter this off-season at a reasonable rate.

For Detroit, they save 38 million dollars, it all comes off the books a year sooner, and they get a solid prospect or two to add to their ongoing rebuild.

Would I do it? If cutting him wasn’t an option given to me then yeah, I’d seriously consider pulling the trigger on this. Prospects around Anderson’s level are usually given a value of around 30 million, so in both these deals, you’d have to decide if you’d rather have the money or the prospect. GMs and fans usually would rather have the prospects but the final say comes from people that might rather have the money.

So there you have it. Feel free to tell us how stupid we are in the comments.

Good Submissions Not Selected

1. From Joey ():

Yankees get: Matt Kemp, *25MM, Matt Adams

Braves get: Billy McKinney, Jorge Guzman

2. From Andy Harris  (@k26DP):

Jays get Kemp, Foltynewicz, Soroka, Wentz, and $20M

Braves get Donaldson and Stroman

3. 2nd from Andy Harris

Rays get Kemp and 25M

Braves get prospect Ronaldo Hernandez.

4. From Clay (@C_Norm22):

Mariners get Kemp, Wisler, Travis Demeritte and Ricardo Sanchez

Braves get Felix Hernandez

5. Here’s Aaron Kirby ( 

Giants get Matt Kemp, Nick Markakis, and JJ

Braves get Mark Melancon and Hunter Pence.

6. Here’s Alex (@tarheelbrave88):

Marlins get Matt Kemp, Nick Markakis, Ian Anderson, Kolby Allard, Travis Demeritte

Braves get Giancarlo Stanton

Do any of the trade ideas get your attention?  Do you feel they are realistic?  Let’s hear from you guys and gals!

Go Braves!


Which one of these scenarios do you guys think is the most realistic?
Which one is a pipedream?
Which one is the one you’d like to see happen the most?
Which idea do you not like?
Let’s hear from you all!

Alrighty, lunch break. Gonna spend a minute hopping back on to answer the primary questions from Ryan’s post.

— Which one of these scenarios do you guys think is the most realistic?
Assuming you aren’t able to cast votes for your own idea, I’d have to say I’d single out Thomas’s Ian Kennedy scenario the most realistic/likely scenario. As I briefly alluded to earlier, a lot of the other scenarios have the Braves either taking on longer commitments, more money, or netting significant returns whether it be major league talent or minors. Some favor the Braves too heavily, and others the opposing team too much. Kennedy for Kemp/Sims just about embodies a true contract swap and would be a “win” for both sides, if you can call swapping around bad salaries a win.

— Which one is a pipedream?
Giancarlo Stanton for the smorgasbord of bad salary and talent. A very close second place to the Stroman/Donaldson proposal, which would receive a quick denial from the Toronto side, IMO.

No offense intended to the provider of this proposal, but part of the reason why Stanton is available is overlooked in this proposition. Perhaps there was more of an explanation, which I’d be interested to read more about, but the trade–as stated–has the Marlins actually taking on salary for the 2018 season. Yes, the point of that submission was probably the longterm savings realized by the Marlins, but I don’t think the Marlins would agree to such a deal where they’d be increasing their payroll with shorter term bad contracts to be rid of Stanton’s longer term commitment. The Marlins won’t have any problems finding takers to not only reduce their payroll through a Stanton trade, but also net the type of return proposed with the rest of the package that was offered.

— Which one is the one you’d like to see happen the most?
Again, assuming I can’t cast votes for my own…and throwing reality out the window and being able to force the other team into it, I’d LOVE to bend the Jays over with the Donaldson/Stroman suggestion. Otherwise, not that I think we’d get such returns, but I would love to be able to dump Kemp/Part of his salary onto the Rays or Yankees for the prospects that were suggested.

— Which idea do you not like?
The one that sticks out to me as a bad trade is the Zimmermann deal. For two main reasons. First reason is, the inclusion of any prospect, regardless of the name. Zimmermann costs more, has a longer term of contract and was really bad at pitching the last couple of years. Kemp, while inept defensively, may still hold some value offensively if you can keep him off the field/healthy-ish. The Tigers should not need any help being convinced to swap Zimmermann for Kemp. No prospect needed, IMO. That said…the second reason is what I’ve kind of already sort of established. Zimmermann isn’t very good anymore. I’m guessing those in favor of this are hoping that a change of scenery would rekindle some of the dominance he showed in the NL as a National. However, his decline started well before he ever left the NL in his last season with the Nats. Since then, he’s lost 2 full MPHs on his fastball and it’s showing in his results. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he reinvents himself, but it’s not worth taking on an extra $5M+ in ’18 and ’19 and an the hulking $25M due to him in 2020 for that outside shot of him becoming a decent middle-back of the rotation arm. If Zimmermann is the best we can do in trading Kemp, like it’s been said, cutting him may be the better option than taking on a pitcher like Zimm.

I am kinda partial to the Jordan Zimmerman idea. It dovetails nicely into my belief that the Braves are still looking to add an experienced rotation arm to our 5 man rotation that will eventually enable them to either move Teheran or shift Folty to the pen.

Thanks fellas, for incorporating my continuous hounding of Thomas as a topic for an entire collaborative post. I certainly feel special and this will motivate me to bug Thomas more than I already do. =D Hahaha

I will post a bit later in response/further support and explanation of my contribution selected by Thomas and post another deal I sent along with it that Thomas conveniently didn’t use (probably because it takes more pages than The Iliad to explain). In the mean time, let me just say that I feel there were a lot more, what I felt were, legitimate reasons why the A’s and Billy Beane would at least discuss the proposal and I will provide them at that time.

I will also probably reply more specifically later, but since I’m at work and probably should be…you know….working….I will give a Cliff’s Notes version of a response to the remainder of the deals. In general, I am noticing (albeit without research/calculations done) that a lot of the proposals have the Braves taking on more salary than they are ridding of. Yes, I get that is how sometimes bad contract swaps work, but I feel the premise of trading Kemp is being lost in a lot of the “swap the contract” research.

For me, seems like a lot of the proposals are hell bent on getting a return of some sort regardless of the longterm commitment of money or prospect cost. IMO, that should not be the idea of trading Kemp. Trading Kemp needs to alleviate the payroll over the next two years much in the way that trading Chris Johnson for Swisher and Bourn got the Braves out of paying Johnson over the longer term. I’m not a big fan of the deals suggesting we take on future salary commitments just to be rid of Kemp. I mean, it’d be nice to make something out of nothing…but the idea of trading Kemp, at least for me, is much like how we dumped Derek Lowe on the Indians a few years back. It’s to end the suffering now rather than going through another season of it. Not to potentially prolong it by taking on future commitments of declining players.

Kemp and Foltynewicz
for James Shields and a PTBNL (big arm SP prospect with weak secondaries/lotto ticket destined for bullpen)

Braves get a starter with a bad contract but only 1 year of control (plus option), shed Kemp’s contract and open up a rotation spot for 2019. Swap Folty for Simms and 5M to the Sox if you’re a believer in Mike.

I’ll go back to one I’ve been throwing around on a couple of boards. Kemp and SP (say, some combination of Sims/Wisler/Blair or even all three) for Trumbo and Britton. You can even take your choice on how many and which SPs to include but the money works. The Braves get a stone cold stopper in the pen and a cheaper OF than Kemp that is more durable. Trumbo does not hit as a DH and that is all he is really suited for but he does hit well when he plays the field. Kemp can be a perfect DH for the O’s who are already full in the OF. And the O’s are desperate for a legitimate starter or two. Originally I’d have thrown in Teheran with Kemp but that may be too much. At any rate, the trade can be tailored to what both sides agree on by running through the gamut of Braves SP (O’s need MLB SP so they would only take a rostered SP or a AAAA SP). Kemp’s contract is only two years, Trumbo is also two, and Britton one. If the O’s could get a controllable legitimate SP out of it then they will love it. Folks on O’s blogs think the Braves wouldn’t go for it and I bet you guys will think the O’s would never go for it. That’s kind of what makes it so perfect. Also, having Trumbo means that M. Adams can be more easily traded. Trumbo is a legitimate source of power even if he platoons with Markakis in LF and can play 1B if Freeman gets injured. Braves get the two things they need the most – power and saves. The O’s get SP and a really good DH. And the money is a wash.

lol, Paul. I’ll use my own suggestion to show your contradiction.

1. You are stating Kemp has value as a DH-only player.

2. You are stating that an AL team would be willing to pay at least $10M/year for a DH with the potential of Kemp.

3. You are uncomfortable “selling” (my word to describe it, not yours) Wentz and Ramirez to the A’s just to be rid of Kemp’s remaining salary.

Based on those statements, your opinion is that the A’s would be bending the Braves over the proverbial table in the Kemp/prospect/reliever for (Insert crappy player name). Don’t need to argue this. That’s what you are stating. That’s fine.

Except……your final paragraph begins with “Kemp is simply UNTRADEABLE this year.”

So, Paul. I’m a little confused. Whcih is it? Is he REALLY untradeable? If so, trading Kemp’s entire salary at the cost of a prospect and a reliever shouldn’t be possible. If he was truly untradeable, you’d agree with the premise of Thomas and the other writers that Beane would not agree to take on Kemp’s salary.

And before you type a tirade in reply, let me just say that this isn’t an argument. I’m simply pointing out your contradiction. It’s kind of amusing to me, personally, but figured you’d like to know since it seems like you’re trying to be taken seriously.

Regarding my proposal of the Oakland A’s.

Thomas is absolutely right when he states that the trade can not be viewed in a vacuum. The A’s already have been rumored to be willing to move Healy, presumably for the price of either more non-cornerinfield prospects or for legit starting pitching help now that they are sans-Sonny Gray. While it is a lot to ask Beane to move Healy for Kemp, it isn’t a lot to expect Beane to capitalize on Healy (and perhaps others) to acquire pieces for other areas of need.

That said…a major point of my argument was not mentioned. Verbatim from my word doc which was submitted to Thomas is this blurb — “The A’s have literally no money guaranteed to players beyond the upcoming season. Literally. Go look for yourself. As of writing this (10/28/2017) the Oakland A’s do not have a single guaranteed contract on the books for the 2019 payroll.” That is unbelievable. Really. Try to wrap your minds around that for a second. Yeah, yeah…there are obviously renewable contracts and arbitration cases, but none of that is truly GUARANTEED. As far as arbitration goes, they have Marcus Semien, Kendall Graveman, Blake Treinen, Josh Phegley and Jake Smolinski entering arby for the first time. Beyond them, Kris Davis (and he might get traded too) and Liam Hendricks as second timers. Chris Hatcher’s a third timer as a former Super-Two. That’s nothing. It really is.

Forward even further into 2019. Jed Lowrie, Santiago Casilla and Matt Joyce drop off the payroll. Some of the previous arby names will no-doubt be traded, non-tendered and some will be kept. Then add on Mark Canha, Chris Bassitt, Ryan Dull, Daniel Coulombe, Sean Manaea and Jesse Hahn. Guys who don’t exactly project to have much earning power. Billy Beane has cleared his entire payroll. Literally. That is absolutely insane in this day and age, IMO.

With such a clear payroll he can be allowed to be EXTREMELY creative in the immediate future. He can absolutely afford to spend a quarter of his payroll on Kemp in order to acquire younger talent. If Wentz/Ramirez doesn’t seem like enough, upgrade the package until it is. There’s a threshold at which both sides would be satisfied in this. I’ve obviously set the bar low, but I’d go as far as (from Atlanta’s perspective) to offer Arodys Vizcaino instead of Ramirez and Ian Anderson AND another low level name like a Derian Cruz or Abraham Gutierrez or Ricardo Sanchez or high-upside low level flyer type instead of Wentz to ensure the entirety of Kemp’s salary is cleared from the Braves payroll. Of course…I’m insane and hellbent on clearing payroll. I’ve been known to overpay upfront in order to get what I desire. It usually “works” in hindsight, if moves that are never made could “work”, so to speak. But that’s the fun part of the ride with me. Just ask Thomas how the last, jeez, decade has been. =D

I’m shocked – SHOCKED! – that someone who watches baseball so darn much can miss the entire premise of the article. Is Kemp tradeable right now? It doesn’t matter. The focus was to try to find a deal that makes some sense for the Braves and some sense for the team acquiring Kemp. I think we were able to accomplish that. The goal wasn’t so much to find a trade that we endorse over possibly just releasing Kemp outright and just deal with the completely sunk cost of doing so. Stephen pointed out – and I think there is agreement at the blog – that our actual preference would be to just release Kemp outright.

In the end, you’d be much better off and your SHIFT/CAPS buttons would be significantly less used if you took this for what it was. A theoretical exercise meant to have fun.

Speaking of insane. Here is the OTHER proposal I sent to Thomas. Here’s the one I’d fully endorse over just cutting Kemp and having him be a sunk cost on the 2018 and 2019 payrolls. I may need more than one reply to do this in. lol

— Matt Kemp, Hyun-Jin Ryu & $17M to the New York Yankees

— Jacoby Ellsbury & Jim Johnson to the Los Angeles Dodgers

— Adrian Gonzalez & $21.5M to the Cleveland Indians (Insert 1B needy team, if not Cleveland)

— Chase Headley, David Robertson, Scott Kazmir , Joc Pederson & Dylan Baker to Atlanta Braves

• The Yankees Perspective: Let’s start with a quick discussion about the Yankees, their desire to get under the luxury tax threshold and how this trade (and recent events) make this a fit financially for the Bombers. With Masahiro Tanaka surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, for some) opting IN to the last 3-years and $67M on his original contract, the Yankees find themselves in an interesting situation in regards to both getting under the luxury tax threshold in 2018 (something Cashman has vowed to do) whilst filling out his roster for a repeat playoff run. The pinstriped franchise has just over $155M invested on players on their current roster with hole to fill at first base, DH, potentially their bench depending on how their outfield is managed and in their starting rotation. That leaves just about $40M before they reach that threshold. While it sounds like lots of money, adding players to their roster will eat into that total rather quickly and would leave very little, if any, funds to make additions later in the year at the trade deadline, etc. So while it seems odd to say this, there is a clear motivation to unload some payroll in New York.

Let’s start with what they add. In Hyun-Jin Ryu, they basically acquire a year of a poor-man’s CC Sabathia. He can slot into the back of the Bomber rotation and negate the need for the Yankees to make an unnecessary longterm commitment to a free agent starting pitcher in the middle tier like an Alex Cobb or a Lance Lynn. In Kemp, they basically get a more effective version of Matt Holliday (whom they just spent $13M on in 2017, so you can’t tell me they won’t DH a $13M/year defensive liability for just over 100 games and 400 ABs). To help facilitate the trade financially, the Braves obviously relinquish the $3.5M in financial aid they’re receiving from San Diego for Kemp–which, ironically or maybe fittingly comes from the Dodgers in the first place. That yearly sum goes to New York along with an additional $5M from the Dodgers in 2018 and $5M from the Indians in 2019, bringing Kemp’s cost to the Yankees out-of-pocket price of a more reasonable $13M/year down from $21.5M/year.

To offset adding Kemp and Ryu, the Yankees would send the would be 4th outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury west to Los Angeles alleviating just about $21.2M/year through 2020. To further assist the Yankees with making some payroll space, the Braves take on the one-year commitments to Chase Headley ($13M) and David Robertson ($13M). With Headley departing, the Yankees can then hand the position over to Gleybor Torres as soon as he’s able to do so (and rumor has it, he’ll be ready for spring training).

Up until this point, it’s been all peaches and cream for the Yankees in this trade. Acquire a back of the rotation starter and better DH than they had in 2017 while getting to salary dump Ellsbury and Headley to make way for better, more cost-efficient talent. So where do the Yankees give up something of value? That’s where David Robertson comes in. Every trade has a give/take to it…and Robertson is the give here (even if the blow is palatable seeing as the Yankees still feature Chapman, Betances, Green, Shreve, Kahnle and Warren). In Robertson, they lose a familiar and dominant relief pitcher. That pitcher happens to earn $13M in the final year of his deal, so there’s extra added benefit of trading him in this deal…but let’s just leave it at that and say this hurts the Yankees more than it helps them like the rest of the trade does.

• The Dodgers Perspective: For the Dodgers, the advantage of this trade is pretty obvious. They pick up a centerfield-capable outfielder with winning experience and some usefulness left in him. They’re able to slide Chris Taylor back to the infield where he would combine with 3 other 4+ WAR players in Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Justin Turner and the Dodgers would pick up, what they’d consider, a cheap veteran with a live arm and a shortterm contract they can dream will rebound into a solid piece in front of Kenley Jansen. All while reducing payroll in 2018 so they can make their run at re-signing Yu Darvish or entertaining other high profile starting pitchers like Jake Arrieta.

While obtaining all that, they also dump the one-year remaining salaries of Kazmir, Gonzalez, Ryu and the arbitration eligible asset in Joc Pederson, who they might end up trading anyway to make room for some up-and-coming prospects like Alex Verdugo or a larger addition like Giancarlo Stanton.

The financial ramifications of all of that is they drop just about $21M in 2018 payroll which can be used–as noted earlier–to offset part of the cost for reloading this already loaded squad for another World Series run. Obviously this is the good thing for the Dodgers. So what’s the bad? Merely being on the hook for Ellsbury’s future salaries (which, they’d be playing him in CF anyway) and having to trade World Series star, Joc Pederson.

• Indians Perspective: Pay up to re-sign Carlos Santana or acquire a short-term stop allowing for prospect Francisco Mejia to develop another year and potentially move out from behind the dish? Even if they refuse to move Mejia from catcher to first base, acquiring an experienced bat for, well…$0….versus paying $10M for one in free agency may be tempting…especially if the price is only going to be a Triple-A fodder arm.

I can’t imagine much downside for Cleveland’s involvement here. In this scenario, they’ll pay $5M of Kemp’s 2019 salary, completely alleviating Atlanta of Kemp’s commitment. If you consider that punishment, then that’s the Indians concession in this trade. Could they do better at 1B. Probably. But not necessarily at that price tag. The risk for them, I imagine, is pretty minimal.

• Braves Perspective: The hardest argument to make, honestly, is to suggest the team take on some of the crappiest one-year salaries imaginable simply to rid of most of Kemp’s salary in 2019. That said…there has to be a price paid to gain future financial freedom. Look at the Bourn/Swisher for Chris Johnson trade. We paid $30M upfront to ensure we didn’t pay Johnson’s future salaries. Same thing.

While it’s clear what the Braves reward is in this, let’s discuss the upfront cost of this type of move.

In exchange for the 2019 payroll freedom, the Braves add nearly $70.5M worth of payroll commitments in 2018. Ouch. That load is lightened a bit considering you get rid of Kemp’s $21.5M and Johnson’s $4.5M, but the net is a $44.5M payroll increase (Hey! Not coincidentally approximately the amount owed for Kemp’s ’18 AND ’19 salary combined). In essence, we are still paying him…just immediately through other players’ salaries. In fact, we’re paying extra…but we’ll call it a fee for doing business and being allowed to get out of his contract a year early.

Like the Yankees take of things, Atlanta would be take a deadweight salary in a position they need opened up and moved to other places where stand-ins are necessary. The Braves would acquire Chase Headley to fill in at third base for a season, buying Riley Austin a chance to move further up the farm system. They would acquire Scott Kazmir to hold a rotation spot (or get released early like Nick Swisher) until a youngster forces you to start him. They even acquire one of the bullpen arms in David Robertson that Copelella claimed the team was going to be needing prior to his self-dismissal over the front office scandal.

Of course, this move can not be viewed in a vacuum. Joc Pederson comes on board as a replacement for Nick Markakis and can platoon with Lane Adams in left while Ronald Acuna takes over fulltime in right.

Then there’s Dylan Baker. Expecting me to tell you he’s some kind of hidden gem, diamond in the rough that will Atlanta’s next big thing? Nope. Not going to do that. Because he’s likely not. He’s a Todd Redmond. A Trey Hodges. A guy who could probably come into the fray, eat some innings without being a total disaster before being jettisoned back to Triple-A to head that rotation. Every organization needs those types. Atlanta is no exception…especially with all the movement of pitching prospects we’ve had lately.

Before pointing out this is adding WAY too much payroll to the 2018 books to allow for other moves to happen as well, keep in mind there are still salaries in Nick Markakis, Matt Adams, and maybe even Julio Teheran or other arbitration eligible players to move if you really needed to. Again, the particular point of this specific scenario was to show the Braves could potentially get out of the entire 2019 commitment of Kemp if you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices upfront.

Bryce, just off the top, the Dodgers will never go for Jim Johnson…. AGAIN. They’ve been down that road and will not go back. To think that they’d give up Pederson and Ryu and get back Ellsbury and Johnson is kind of nuts. To bring four teams together on a trade of that magnitude is likely an impossibility. We’ve seen big trades including three teams sometimes but I can’t recall ever seeing a four team trade.

Roger, Thanks for the reply.

I can see the Dodgers not going for Johnson. That’s fine. He’s not an integral part of the trade. I just threw him in to offset a little bit of cash. It’s not a deal-breaker for me to delete that name as the base of the deal still remains the same.

As for the Dodgers end of things, it’s not just about giving up Pederson and Ryu. It’s about all the dead weight contracts in addition to them that they are ridding themselves of. Do not conveniently leave off Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and the potential an extra $20M of created payroll space can do in their quest to create another super team.

And regarding the multiple team trades. In actuality, I originally pitched this as two separate trades— a three-team trade where Atlanta basically took on Adrian Gonzalez, THEN flipped him in a second trade. It was easier just to lump the 4th team in because people don’t tend to “get it” when a second trade is implied. If you’d like to imagine it as such, this is essentially two trades; Part 1A is the bulk of the bad contract swapping. Part 1B is the moving of Gonzalez to a 4th team.

Fair points, though. I’m not saying this is likely at all. Just took on the task of seeing if some progressive minds wanted to get together if they couldn’t help solve each others problems. While extremely complex and over half the names probably unnecessary, I think the concept of swapping out Matt Kemp for other salaries or parts isn’t as farfetched as some want to say it is. I’ve long believed that moving Kemp would be more complicated than for just two teams, but if 3-4 teams got together, there is no reason at all this can’t be worked out.

It’s very easy. Kemp has negative value. To get rid of him we need to add something with positive value. If we want to get something useful – we need to add more positive value. Basically all Kemp’s deals are two-parted: Kemp plus something for nothing, something extra for something.

For an exercise: try to contruct a simple deal with nothing going to Braves. How much we have to give up to get rid of Kemp.

Kemp’s contract is $43M. According to FanGraphs a hititing prospect with FV value 55 is worth $38M (data from last offseason). Factoring inflation – probably Kemp plus a hitting prospect FV 55 is worth zero.

Pitching prospects are cheaper. FV 60 is worth $34M. Before 2017 season Allard was given FV 55, which according to FP is worth $22M. Fried had the same FV. So, bascially, giving Kemp for free should cost us Allard AND Fried.

Now for AL team Kemp could have some positive value. But it would take at least two AL teams wantng to get Kemp to get for him his real value (real value – it means to add less value to give him for free).

And we could take some money back in another bad contract – then the price we have to pay would be lower.

And, of course, we could eat some Kemp’s money – say Kemp, Allard +$20M for some PTBNL.

We should not overestimate the value of our prospects. The price we will have to pay to get rid of Kemp will be HIGH.

The only issue I have with this logic is Kemp’s contract does not cost $43M to the Braves or whoever they trade with since it is subsidized by other clubs. The trade value is closer to $36M. Part of the goal is to trade Kemp to a club that won’t get zero value out of him. His offensive value is greater than zero and his defensive value is less than zero. Trading him as a DH should make his value something north of zero.

…and prospects values should be bigger next season, that’s right. And Allard could be FV 60 after last season. So it maybe Allard + Fried is too much, yes.

The correct numbers could be different – but I think we should stay with shown methodology. Estimate values of included players.

But I underscore: to get rid of Kemp we would have to include a real prospect (or significant money). Or a real player – Kemp+Inciarte should have a positive value, I guess.

I think we need to be realistic (and a bit less long-winded) here. TRad is right to a degree. Kemp has negative trade value. But I don’t think the Braves will be willing to send someone who they view as part of their future or part of a future trade for a legitimate Major League asset. I see something more akin to the Chris Johnson for Swisher and Bourne trade: a bad contract swap that can get Kemp’s money off the books after 2018, one year sooner than keeping him. If he goes to a fringe contender, Braves have to eat money and/or take on another bad deal. In order to send him to a non-contender, they will probably have to send over a prospect with a non zero chance of becoming an MLB regular even if the Braves take on dead money, too.

I think the Stanton deal is the winner. Though I doubt you have to give up as much as Alex suggested to get Stanton. I think a package of kemp, Markakis and Inciarte should get Stanton. Or conversely Kemp Markakis Teheran and one of our third tier pitching prospects like Davidson or Muller.

Inciarte’s value was this season 3 fWAR. But it was produced exclusively with fielding and running. He’s 27 – his value will start decreasing quite soon. Let’s say 0,5 fWAR per year. He’s controled till 2022 season:
2018 2,5 fWAR
2019 2,0
2020 1,5
2021 1,0
2022 0,5
SUM: 7,5 (I think it’s quite optimistic: Steamer is guesstimating his next year value at 2,2 – speed is first to go).

Let’s suppose 1 fWAR is worth $8M (I don’t want to go into inflation, it’s just a simple exercise, not a REAL case study). It means Inciarte should produce $60M during his contract. He will be paid $36M. So it gives about $24M surplus.

As for Kemp he has negative value even when you discard his defense (according to FanGraphs). So no, giving Kemp + Inciarte for free is not enough.

Now, of course, maybe there is some team on the verge of playoffs which needs a good CF, and which could use Kemp as a platoon player/pinch hitter – then the equation changes a little.

Until now I haven’t understand how bad was Kemp trade. It was awfull.

Just keep him, play him every 2nd or 3rd day to keep him fit, good pinch-hit RHB for the bench, DH for interleague games and he’ll mash like he did at the start of the 2017 season, assuming he arrives fit like he did last year- no reason to think he won’t. Hopefully a contender sees a play-off value in that contribution and takes more of his contract at the deadline.

All trades are worse, and cutting him achieves less than keeping him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *