Padres trade Matt Kemp to Braves for a player they then immediately cut
The Braves and Padres both get rid of Hector Olivera on the same night
Five days ago, I ranked what I believed to be the 10 most untradeable players in baseball right now. Matt Kemp of the Padres checked in at No. 8 while Hector Olivera of the Braves was the top dog.
One way for teams to deal such terrible contracts? Just swap them out.
That's what has happened, as the Padres have traded Kemp to the Braves in a one-for-one deal for Olivera. The move has been announced as official. The Padres have also, in turn, designated Olivera for assignment -- which is tantamount to cutting him.
There is some cash going from the Padres to the Braves, $10M-$12M according to Dennis Lin. Basically, that's how badly the Padres wanted to rid themselves of Kemp's contract. They ate some of it in order to deal for a player they had zero interest in.
Kemp should have won the NL MVP in 2011 and was ridiculous (in a good way) to begin the 2012 season, but injuries derailed him in the ensuing few seasons and now he's totally one-dimensional. He has 23 home runs and 69 RBI.
Past that, he's pretty bad. His .285 on-base percentage is miserable and he's struck out 100 times compared to just 16 walks. He is a total liability on defense with no range in right and he doesn't run anymore -- he hasn't even attempted one stolen base all season.
At age 31, Kemp is still due $21.75 million each season through the 2019 season. As with what I said about how badly the Padres wanted to rid themselves of Kemp, this is how badly the Braves wanted to rid themselves of Olivera: They took on a portion of a massive contract with a subpar player attached to it.
Olivera is no gem himself. Also 31 years old, he's a career .245 hitter with an 86 OPS+ in the majors. He's owed $47.18 million from 2017-20. He played nine games in Triple-A earlier this season and was 4 for 35 (.114), too. He's been moved to a corner outfield position and has shown little power in his limited time in America since defecting from Cuba.
Olivera has also been handed the longest suspension in MLB's domestic violence policy at 82 games. Put simply: Not only is he to this point a very overpaid and bad player, but he's a bad seed as well.
It'll be interesting to see if he finds another suitor after being designated. He's already being paid that slightly hefty salary, so any acquiring team would only be on the hook for the pro-rated league minimum upon signing him. There's some talent in there, as he hit .316/.412/.474 in his last season in Cuba. Of course, that was 2013. He's now north of 31, carrying domestic violence charges and has been wholly unproductive state-side.
This was essentially a salary dump of Kemp by the Padres. That's a good move by general manager A.J. Preller as he looks to rebuild.
From the Braves' perspective, this was just about the only way to wash their hands of Olivera. When viewed through that lens, it's hard to blame them.
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