The Dodgers have agreed to send outfielder Matt Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz, and ~$30 million to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-handed pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin, according to Dennis Lin and Kirk Kenney</a> of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Kemp has been discussed almost ad nauseum here, and Federowicz hasn’t proven he’s backup material yet (he should eventually, I think). Kemp’s obviously the big loss here, both for the fanbase and for the lineup, as he seems poised to put up a great offensive season in 2015.
The return is going to raise some eyebrows in certain circles, but it’s an understandable baseball move. Grandal’s traditional numbers don’t look great, but he’s a present-day upgrade at the catcher position, he’s younger and cheaper, and has future breakout potential. Not many will pay attention to his framing value, but I’m guessing it’s a large part of the reason he was valued by the Dodgers given the Rays‘ affinity for Jose Molina in the past.
Joe Wieland is heading into his age-25 season in 2015, and he posted a 5.31 ERA and 5.29 FIP in 39 MLB innings. Wieland was the #74 ranked prospect in the MLB by Baseball America prior to 2012, the year he had Tommy John surgery. He made his comeback in 2014, making nine starts between Rookie, AA, and AAA levels, posting a 3.03 ERA with 36 strikeouts and six walks in 38.2 innings before being promoted in September. If the Dodgers believe he has recaptured his former status, he could be a valuable piece, but he’s a back-end rotation guy at best.
Zach Eflin is entering his age-21 season and will either be assigned to A+ or AA. He’s a pitchability type that relies on his fastball/changeup too much at the moment, and he probably needs to sharpen his breaking ball to remain a rotation option. In 24 starts at A+ last year, he had a 3.80 ERA in 128 innings, striking out 93 and walking 31.
What the Dodgers do from here on out is going to be telling in terms of baseball moves. If the Dodgers stop here, then it’s safe to say this was a salary dump and we know where the payroll limitation is. Quite frankly, if they stop here, I don’t like it, because while the return has upside, Kemp has present value and he still has upside from last year’s performance. Furthermore, it means they already used the money they saved by dealing him on Howie Kendrick and Brandon McCarthy. However, and this is what I believe is happening, the team could use the non-Grandal players here as a springboard to score a bigger deal with the Phillies for Jimmy Rollins and/or Cole Hamels or some other solid starter. The Dodgers need a shortstop and a rotation option, after all.
So that’s the baseball side of it, but as a fan, I’m just sad to see Kemp go. True, if there was any time in recent years to sell Kemp, this was it, as he ended his Dodger career with a gigantic second-half that rebuilt his broken value. That said, I’ve followed Kemp since he was in the low minors and I’ve always been partial to him. To see him go through the ups-and-downs, breakout to superstar status, see him be disrespected by many after he got hurt, and then to finally witness his comeback has been a great journey. I’m just sad it has to end here.