In A.J. Preller’s first significant move as general manager of the San Diego Padres, he acquired Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The first of many trades under the management of A.J. Preller made a big splash.
In December of 2014, the San Diego Padres acquired outfielder Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres also received catcher Tim Federowicz in the deal.
Matt Kemp used to be a superstar in Los Angeles. The outfielder finished second in the 2011 NL MVP. Although the two-time Silver Slugger is known more for his bat, he also won two Gold Gloves from his days in Dodger blue.
His first nine seasons in the big leagues were full of production for the native of Oklahoma. In that time, Kemp hit 182 home runs to go along with a .292 average and a .845 OPS. He terrorized the San Diego Padres, hitting 22 HRs to go along with a .302 batting average. A.J. Preller hoped some of this production carried over when he traded for him.
Unfortunately for Kemp, injuries plagued him late in his career. He only played 106 games in 2012 and 73 games in 2013. The right-handed hitter performed well in 150 games in 2014 for LA, so A.J. Preller decided to trade for him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to move Matt Kemp. Injuries concerned the front office, and they needed to open up a spot for prospect outfielder Joc Pederson. They found a match with an aggressive Preller who was in the midst of an overhaul of the Padres’ roster.
Kemp hit the ball well in his first year as a San Diego Padre. In 154 games, the outfielder hit 23 HRs, tallied 100 RBIs, and hit .265, totaling a 109 OPS+.
His fielding, however, lacked severely. A .972 FLD% on eight errors, -16 DRS, and 1.96 RF/9 innings all ranked amongst the worst in the MLB in 2015. Fortunately for Kemp, he gunned out ten baserunners keeping them honest on the base paths. He fared a little better defensively in 2016, but still below average. Kemp hosed eight baserunners, limited the errors to just two, only -6 DRS, but his RF/9 innings dropped to 1.88.
At the plate, Kemp remained consistent, putting up similar numbers in 2016 to what he did in his premiere year in San Diego. Despite the production at the plate and improvement in the field, general manager A.J. Preller decided to move on from Kemp late in the 2016 season.
When the San Diego Padres acquired Matt Kemp, they became financially responsible for $75 million of his four-year/$107 million contract. The team wanted to move on from the money owed Kemp, and there were also some clubhouse issues revolving around Kemp, which Preller wanted to remove from the young team.
The Padres traded Kemp and money to the Atlanta Braves for suspended hitter Hector Olivera before the 2016 trade deadline. Olivera never suited up for San Diego and is a mess in his own right.
The other player that the Padres acquired in the original Matt Kemp trade was Tim Federowicz. Federowicz played the entire 2015 season in the minor leagues for the Padres. He played five games A-ball for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, and 22 games in Triple-A for the El Paso Chihuahuas. Federowicz became a free agent following the 2015 season and signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Yasmani Grandal headlined the players the San Diego Padres sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Grandal impressed in his rookie campaign for the Padres. His 143 OPS+ as a catcher, along with finishing in ninth for FRAA-ADJ (framing runs against average adjusted) among all catchers. Grandal most notably became the first-ever player to hit a home run in his first two career at-bats from different sides of the plate.
Following an injury-riddled 2013, Grandal came back strong in 2014 as the primary catcher for the San Diego Padres. The Cuban switch-hitter finished in 14th for catchers in FRAA-ADJ (Rene Rivera finished in first that year, so the Padres had quite the catching duo) along with 15 HRs and a 111 OPS+.
Grandal quickly made a name for himself as a Los Angeles Dodger by making the All-Star team in 2015 and finishing in 22nd for the 2016 NL MVP. Grandal is considered a top catcher in the MLB and recently signed a four-year/$72 million contract with the Chicago White Sox.
The second player the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired was right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland. The big pitcher only started two games for L.A. in 2015 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2016, which ended up being his final season in the majors.
The final player the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired is RHP prospect Zach Eflin. The San Diego Padres selected Eflin with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft. Eflin lasted a day in Los Angeles before being traded for shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies. Eflin’s production so far for the Phillies has been rather low. His best season, 2019, includes a 4.13 ERA in 163.1 innings.
While the San Diego Padres saw decent production from Kemp in 2015 and half of 2016, they are losers in this trade because this trade set them back financially. Yasmani Grandal became a star for a division rival, and that is also never a good thing. Preller attempted to make a splash, but remorse set in almost initially with this deal.