2014 Winter Meetings: Good-bye Matt Kemp! You Are Forever A Dodger

So there you have it baseball normies. You got your wish, Kemp is no longer a Dodger. What next, you want Kershaw gone? Some people just want to watch the world burn.

As a young man, there were two trades that really hit me hard. The first was the Mike Piazza Trade. I blame all of my trust issues on the 1998 Dodgers front office. The second trade that was a major kick in the gut was the Shawn Green Trade. Granted green was on the wrong side of thirty when he was traded, the fact that he was traded for Dioner Navarro is something that I’ll never forget.

Today brought a third trade that felt like a really shitty breakup I had in high school. All the signs were there and as much as I did not want to admit it, I knew I would be waking up to awful news. I keep telling myself it is for the best, but I do not know that yet. “Good lord, Xavier, you have issues.” Seriously, it is heartbreaking to see Kemp go. He was one of the many reasons I started to watch the Dodgers again. While I will look at these trades objectively, I will be doing so while shedding manly tears.

Let us do some #ANALYSIS and rationally think about why the front office made its decisions.

  • The Dodgers did not have a shortstop. But even if they did have shortstop, they had Dee Gordon playing second base. If you were thinking that Dee suddenly figured out how to play baseball, then you were fooling yourself. He had a hot 56 games in 2011 batting .304/.325/.362. His wOBA and wRC+ respectively were still below average, so there is that. He floundered on both sides of the ball in 2012 and 2013. At first glance, his 2014 looked solid, but if we break the season in half, the story changes. In the first half of the 2014 season, Dee Gordon’s wOBA was a respectable .329 and his wRC+ was 113. However, during the second half of the season, those two stats respectively were .287 and 84. Keep in mind that there was only a .04 point change in BABIP. Something changed and it was not his luck. The Dodgers could have given him a chance to bounce back in 2015. Instead, they wisely chose to let that be another team’s risk. In return for Gordon and company, the Dodgers received some sexy prospects from the Marlins.
  • Those sexy prospects were quickly flipped for Howie Kendrick, formerly of the Los Angeles But Really Orange County Angels of Anaheim.
  • With one-half of a middle infield, the Dodgers front office set their sights on Jimmy Rollins. In order to obtain Rollins, the Dodgers needed to make a big move. But it could not just give up Matt Kemp without some gain. I know that seems convoluted, but it will make sense, I promise. Kemp, plus Tim Federowicz, were traded to San Diego in exchange for Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland, and Zach Efron Eflin. Eflin was flipped, along with an in-house Dodgers pitching prospect, to Philadelphia for Rollins. Insta-shortstop. Before anyone could criticize Friedman’s madness, he turned around and said, “Ya’ll got middle infielded muthafuckas,” I imagine.
  • With Kemp gone and Yasmani Grandal in Los Angeles, two things are now accomplished. The first is that there is now room for Joc Pederson. While I personally think it is too soon, he was going to come up eventually. With Kemp off the roster, Crawford and Ethier forgetting how to baseball, and no one else that is an obvious starter, all signs point to Pederson being a starting outfield in 2015. Secondly, as much as I love AJ Ellis, I am not convinced we will see him live up to his lore in 2015. Ellis is an amazing catcher, but at thirty-three years old and a series of leg injuries, it is only a matter of time before his age catches up to him and he is let go. Yasmani Grandal is Friedman’s answer to the inevitable.

Like I said, it was hard to see Kemp go. Hell it was difficult to see Dee Gordon traded as well. But these trades are not being made haphazardly. It could be argued that Matt Kemp could have stayed in LA and the Dodgers could have called up Corey Seager. But the front office felt that Seager needs some more time in the minors. I would have to agree with this as we have seen players being called up way too soon (Dee Gordon and every fucking pitcher in the farm system during the 2013 season). This is a team with a “Win now” mentality, but it is tempered with an extremely long view.

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