In a major trade completed Saturday that would have been a blockbuster a few years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent four players (and a healthy amount of salary) to the Atlanta Braves to bring back outfielder Matt Kemp.
Heading east to Atlanta are first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy and infielder Charlie Culberson.
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Kemp, 33, was the 2011 NL MVP runner-up after hitting 39 homers for the Dodgers, and he signed an eight-year, $160 million extension after that season. Kemp will make $21.5 million in 2018 and another $21.5 million in 2019.
Kemp also grounded into 25 double plays in 2017, which lead all National League players for the most.
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Matt Kemp is headed back to the Dodgers - for now. Given his albatross of a contract Kemp will be hard to move unless the Dodgers eat some of his salary or sweeten the pot with prospects. For the Dodgers, it's all about getting underneath the luxury tax in advance of the 2018 season. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw also has an opt-out clause in his contract he could activate following the 2018 season.
The move was widely seen as a salary-dumping maneuver to put the Dodgers in better position for the next off-season's free agent market. He was traded to the Padres in December 2014 and traded to the Braves before the July 2016 trade deadline in another bad-contract swap when former Braves GM John Coppolella was desperate to dump Hector Olivera, who had been acquired in another ill-advised trade with ... the Dodgers.
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After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump almost $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Following the Trade, Gonzalez was designated for assignment, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. With the Miami Marlins headed for a terrible 2018 campaign the Braves can, at the very least, show their fanbase that not only are they no longer the worst team in the National League East, but that their future is brighter than it has been in a long time.
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