Padres Can Benefit From Matt Kemp’s Physical
By Tim Richer
On the final day of the Winter Meetings the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres reached an agreement to trade Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz along with $32 million of Kemp’s contract to the Padres for Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin. It’s now been a week since the agreement was reached and still no formal announcement.
So what’s the holdup?
It’s Kemp’s physical . While we don’t know for certain what the results of the physical were, we can presume they weren’t ideal. That sounds bad, but ESPN’s Buster Olney offered Padres’ fans a saving grace.
The Dodgers effectively severed their relationship with Kemp when they showed they were willing to send him and 30% of his contract to a division rival. Also the deal cleared their expensive outfield logjam, and the Padres were one of the few or maybe the only team wiling to take on Kemp’s contract. The Dodgers need this deal to go through. As Olney points out, one way to get that to happen is to keep eating money off of the deal.
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The Padres would be on the hook for $75 million over the next 5 years for Kemp if the deal were to remain as currently constituted. At $17 million a year the Padres are certainly getting him at a discounted rate, but the more money you save the better, especially when the player has medical concerns. The Padres have never flaunted a huge payroll, so having Kemp eating a large chunk could handicap the Padres from extending players like Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Wil Myers in the future. GM A.J. Preller can play hardball with the Dodgers and free up some money down the line.
Another creative way to skew the deal in the Padres favor is to change the players involved. There isn’t a ton of flexibility if the Padres choose to go this route. Yasmani Grandal and Zach Eflin are both essential to the deal getting done, so they have to go. Grandal is necessary, because he addresses a need for the Dodgers. Unless the Dodgers want Ryan Hanigan, who might not be better than the Dodgers incumbent catcher, A.J. Ellis, Grandal is the only player who the Dodgers need and they won’t just give away Kemp for nothing. Eflin is necessary, because the Dodgers Jimmy Rollins trade hinges on Eflin being included, so that’s out of the picture. So the only guy the Padres can retain is Joe Wieland. What Wieland provides though is starting pitching depth. The Padres’ final roster is far from set and there was significant interest in the Padres’ top three starters, Cashner, Ross and Ian Kennedy. Keeping a guy with big league experience and some upside in Wieland could give the Padres more flexibility in a future deal. Unfortunately Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal threw some cold water on the deal being shook up.
With that it sounds like any posturing Preller was doing might have gone for naught. The widely reported deadline for the deal to get done is today, so we should find out if the Padres were able to find a way to sweeten the deal in their favor in the coming hours.