The Dodgers and Braves to a big five-player deal Saturday night, bringing Matt Kemp back to LA. What is the fantasy impact of the move?
In what is more of a salary dump than team-improving trade, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves agreed to swap Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Charlie Culberson for Matt Kemp. Is there any fantasy impact from this trade?
Kemp had a pretty good 2017 season with the Braves. In 115 games, he hit 19 home runs, 64 RBI and .276. He was coming off a 35 HR/108 RBI/.268 season between the San Diego Padres and Braves. Kemp had a 96.0 ADP, a 10th-round pick in standard ESPN leagues. He finished as the No. 88 outfielder on the Player Rater.
The Dodgers already have a lot of outfielders: Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Trayce Thompson and now Kemp. Roster Resource has Puig, Taylor and Pederson as the starters with Thompson and Kemp riding the bench. Looking at Pederson’s numbers in 2017, 11 HR/35 RBI/.212, I could see Kemp taking his spot.
More from Fantasy Baseball
Kemp has been pretty healthy over the last few years. He played in 150, 154 and 156 games from 2014-2016. Taking a reduced role could help the 33-year old outfielder. I wouldn’t draft him before the 20th round in standard drafts.
Atlanta picks up a couple of aging players in Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy. Gonzalez is the biggest name of the three. He played in just 71 games in 2017 after playing in at least 156 games in 11 straight seasons.
He hit just three home runs, 30 RBI and .242. The Dodgers had a young star in Cody Bellinger fill in at first base, making Gonzalez nothing more than an off-day fill in.
The Braves have already designated Gonzalez for assignment and will likely make him a free agent. There are rumors that the Padres could be interested in him if they don’t land Eric Hosmer. Gonzalez averaged .284 with 137 home runs and 419 RBI in his four seasons with the Padres. We could see a Gonzalez/Headley reunion in 2018. But Wil Myers still has first base locked up.
As for the two pitchers, McCarthy posted a 3.98 ERA, 1.252 WHIP and a 6-4 record in 19 games. His strikeout rate fell from 9.9 in 2016 to 7.0 in 2017. McCarthy has topped 140 innings just twice in his career and has been injury prone, including Tommy John surgery in 2015. I don’t like him more than an SP4 in standard leagues.
Kazmir missed all of 2017 and has made just 30+ starts four times in his 12-year career. There are plenty of other pitchers worth drafting this season. Maybe if the matchup is right and Kazmir looks good, I’d add him but that’s the only time.
Culberson could be a name to watch in a couple of years. Despite already being 29, he hasn’t received much playing time. He reached a career-high 210 at-bats in 2014 with the Colorado Rockies. He made a combined 49 appearances with the Dodgers over the last two seasons, hitting .275 in that span.
As I said in the beginning, this was more of a real baseball move than fantasy. Most of the players in the deal are getting up there in age and are past their primes. Kemp may have something left in the tank, but he needs a starting job for him to be relevant. McCarthy could be a back-end pitcher in deeper leagues and I wouldn’t touch the other three players.