Dodger Fans May Find Trading Matt Kemp Hard To Stomach, Especially Without Cole Hamels

Unless you’ve been living in a cave of some sort, you know that the Dodgers are preparing to finalize a deal that will send outfielder and longtime Dodger Matt Kemp, along with catcher Tim Federowicz to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal, and two young pitching prospects. Those would be 24-year old right hander Joe Wieland, and 20-year old right hander Zach Eflin.

We had been hearing for weeks that the Dodgers may end up trading Kemp, and now here we are with the harsh realities. There were rumors that this would be part of a bigger deal that ended up with the Dodgers flipping the prospects to the Phillies for Cole Hamels. Can you imagine a Dodger rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, McCarthy, and Hamels? That would be the best pitching staff in Baseball.

After the Dodger’s early exit and choke fest in the 2014 playoffs, we knew there would be some major changes coming. The club is in the midst of a historic roster overhaul of epic proportions. We haven’t seen something like this in a long time. Unfortunately the Dodgers were not going to be able to win a World Series championship with the way their roster was currently constructed. We knew if they were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last season, that there would be a roster purge of some kind, although we didn’t think it would be this deep.

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Nevertheless we knew it would happen. The new front office would undoubtedly want to bring in their own guys, and there was no getting around it. This is destiny guys.

Grandal is a nice piece, and the two young pitchers are ok, but without it being connected to a bigger acquisition of Cole Hamels, makes it seem as though this was just a trade to dump salary and clear space. That’s something that is hard to stomach for most Dodger fans.

You see, Kemp has been a fan favorite. I liked him too. He’s been a Dodger for a long time. He’s been with the club for nine seasons, and nobody wanted to see him moved.

But unfortunately nobody wanted Carl Crawford, or Andre Ethier. Kemp was the only outfielder that had any trade value. The Dodgers had too many outfielders again, and the situation needed to be resolved. So the Dodgers traded who they could.

The Dodgers want to streamline payroll, and create flexibility on the roster. Kemp had a great second half of 2014, and the brain trust knew somebody would want him.

So enter the Padres. They’re looking for offense, specifically right handed power. The market is sparse in that department, so the Padres want Kemp for obvious reasons. Not to mention the winter meetings are in San Diego, they just hired a new general manager, and are looking to make a big splash.

Grandal will be a good addition to the Dodgers. He’s a cost controlled, 26-year old switch-hitting catcher with pop in his bat. He hit 15 home runs in 2014 for San Diego. But he underwent knee surgery last August, batted just .225, and was busted for taking testosterone back in 2012. However he should be a great backstop to pair with A.J. Ellis.

There still might be a bigger trade for Hamels that will come later, but even if not, this is a predictable roster purge that Stacie and I saw coming a mile away. We didn’t think all of the moves would be announced within a 24 hour period though.

It will be very painful for Dodger fans to have to watch Kemp in a brown camo uniform 19 times every season. The think tank doesn’t care about that. They’ve shown they will trade almost anyone if it will help the club in the long run.

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Cheer up Dodger fans, because I believe that this should be all good in the long run. People do make a valid point when they point out Kemp’s history of injuries, and the fact at age 30 his best days may be behind him.

Still losing Kemp seems to be a big hole in the middle of the lineup for the Dodgers. Maybe the brain trust figure that between the additions of Jimmy Rollins, and Howie Kendrick, and Grandal will be able to make up for Kemp’s power.

I think maybe it’s just time for a change. The big question will be if all these changes will equate into a World Series for the Dodgers. Because otherwise we’re somewhat back to square one, with a talented roster that is unable to reach the World Series.

In the end, the core of the Dodgers is still the same. The Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw, they still have A.J. Ellis, and Yasiel Puig, and Greinke, Ryu, and Kenley Jansen in the bullpen. Oh and Andre Ethier is still around here somewhere.

But the rest of the guys will be good too. Perhaps they will be better than the old guys. Kendrick is an all around solid player. Rollins should be fine until Corey Seager is ready to take over. Brandon McCarthy will be an upgrade in the rotation, and pitchers Chris Hatcher, and Joel Peralta should help improve the bullpen.

Grandal will give the Dodgers some pop from the catcher position that they haven’t had in years, and hopefully the minor pieces they acquired will give the club some depth.

If the Dodgers are very good in 2015, I can live with losing Kemp. But the Dodgers are going to have to be very good. I’m talking 97 wins good. I want the super team. I think the brain trust is working towards something along those lines.

This is going to be hard for us to stomach guys, but I believe it is all part of the larger process. Let’s hope it all is worth it in the end.

We’ll miss you Bison