3. Matt Kemp and his contract are shipped south, bringing in Yasmani Grandal, December 2014
In what was a changing of the guard for the Dodgers outfield, at least until 2018, Matt Kemp left the only team he had ever known in order to clear the outfield and the clubhouse for young outfielder Yasiel Puig. Kemp, backup catcher Tim Federowicz, and $32 million were sent to the San Diego Padres to bring in a young switch-hitting catcher in Grandal, along with some young arms who were later shipped off in smaller moves, including Zach Eflin and Joe Wieland.
Grandal became a fixture in the Dodgers lineup for what would become the clear prime of his career. The powerful backstop crushed 89 home runs with Los Angeles over his four seasons and 510 games with the Dodgers.
Even though he experienced plenty of playoff woes and the booing the came with that, (which probably is what drove him to Milwaukee) Grandal solidified a position that is one of the most difficult to fill in all of baseball. Only a few catchers in the game today can provide the power and ability to stay on the field for over 100 games a season. In the four year span he played in LA, Grandal placed in the top-5 in games played, home runs, and WAR among catchers.
While he was a regular season monster, Grandal’s 32 postseason games produced almost no positive value, as he hit just .107 with 35 strikeouts. His presence behind the plate will be missed by the pitching staff, but his exit allowed for the return of fan-favorite Russell Martin to LA.