Podcast: ‘Dugout Blues’ episode 221 – Kemp trade, Koehler, Hirano

This is the final episode of Dugout Blues for calendar year 2017. Before Saturday, it looked like Jared and I wouldn’t have much to talk about. Knowing this, the Dodgers made one of the most unexpected trades in recent memory. Thanks guys!

The aforementioned trade: The Dodgers acquired Matt Kemp (!) from the Braves for Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson and $4.5 million.

What?

I had to look at this multiple times to make sure it wasn’t a joke, fake account, troll, etc. It wasn’t. The Dodgers actually traded for Kemp, but it goes much deeper than that. It was about the money. The Dodgers save on the luxury tax this season by taking on the same amount of money but having it spread out over two years. The Braves also get a couple of usable pieces in McCarthy and Culberson (and maybe even Kazmir, if he’s healthy enough). Kemp isn’t long for the Dodger roster (he’ll be traded or released) and Gonzalez has already been designated for assignment. He had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to go through, and he did with the condition Atlanta would designate him.

It’s bittersweet to see Gonzalez go because he was such a productive player for four of the last five years and a consummate professional. Kazmir didn’t work out as well as some hoped. McCarthy was good while he was healthy and we’ll never forget Culberson’s walk-off home run in Vin Scully’s last home game or his heroics in the 2017 NLCS.

This move gives the Dodgers a little breathing room to make moves the rest of the winter and, more importantly, at the trade deadline. It also lines them up to be big players in next year’s free agent bonanza (hello, Bryce Harper). For now, grabbing a guy like Andrew McCutchen makes a lot of sense.

The Dodgers agreed to terms with Tom Koehler on a 1-year deal. He was decent with the Marlins for a couple seasons but fell flat on his face last season. He was jettisoned to Toronto and was subsequently DFA’d. Odds are, the Dodgers are going to try Koehler in the bullpen. It’s a worthwhile gamble that shouldn’t cost a lot.

Yoshihisa Hirano, a 33-year-old Japanese reliever, is on the Dodgers’ radar. Daniel wrote about him last week. He seems like the kind of cheap option this front office targets for the bullpen.

We end the year with a strong Q&A session. We appreciate all the support and questions throughout the year (and every year). Please keep them coming in the new year.

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Look for new episodes of “Dugout Blues” every Monday (or every other Monday in the off-season). Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and review us on iTunes. We want to make this the best podcast we can so we’re always looking for suggestions and ways to improve.

If you have questions you’d like us to answer or certain topics/players you want to hear more about, feel free to email us (dugoutbluespodcast@gmail.com) or send us messages on Twitter (@JaredJMassey or @DustinNosler). You can also “Like” the podcast on Facebook. We always welcome audience participation.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.