New GM or not, one of the Braves’ goals for this offseason was to trade one or both of their starting corner outfielders from the 2017 season. It turns out that the outfielder who ended up getting traded was Matt Kemp and he’ll be returning to familiar territory. The Braves have just announced that they’ve traded Kemp to the Dodgers in exchange for Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez, and cash considerations.
Simply by looking at the players involved, this is a clear salary dump for both teams. All of the players who the Braves acquired in this deal are currently on one-year deals and the Braves have already DFA’d Adrian Gonzalez, so there’s that. Meanwhile, the Dodgers did this so that they can get under the luxury tax threshold.
The #Braves & Dodgers completed a five-player trade today in which the Braves have acquired pitchers Brandon McCarthy & Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, 1B Adrian Gonzalez & cash considerations in exchange for OF Matt Kemp. Details: pic.twitter.com/41uyrIFQ5X— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 16, 2017
For both teams, the primary motivation is simply to move money around to their liking and it certainly helps that Alex Anthopoulos may have been able to use his connections with his former employers to help make this deal happen. Otherwise, it’s definitely one of those deals that makes you scratch your head when you look at it on the surface of things.
For now, it seems like a very neutral deal for both teams. Both clubs will get some form of salary relief — especially in 2019 for the Braves once all those contracts that they just acquired expire — and this probably clears the way for Ronald Acuna to take a position in the outfield. It’s a salary dump and it opens up a spot for one of the game’s top prospects so this is not a bad deal for the Braves at all.