The Braves have traded Matt Kemp to the Dodgers for Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Charlie Culberson. In the big scheme, this move happened so the Dodgers could get under the salary cap. For fantasy purposes, most of the players involved are barely fantasy relevant unless we’ve been time-warped back to 2011.
The Braves feel so highly about Gonzalez (581 ADP), who posted a .242 batting average with three homers in 252 PAs in 2017, they’re already planning to release him. With Gonzalez out of the picture, no obstacles remain for Cody Bellinger to become the Dodgers’ full-time first baseman.
With Kazmir and McCarthy (both with ADP > 361), the Braves have a couple of starters who could be productive if they stay healthy. McCarthy posted a 3.98 ERA last season with a 7.0 K/9 in 92 innings, mainly in a starting role. Owners can be sure McCarthy won’t put up those numbers in 2018, as he’s seemingly a new pitcher each and every season. He’s a fine addition to eat up innings for a rebuilding team.
Kazmir didn’t pitch at all in the majors last year, but he did throw 12 rehab innings after recovering from an injured hip. He was decent in 2016, accumulating 10 wins with an 8.9 K/9 and 4.56 ERA. Owners will start to figure out his talent level once he starts pitching in the spring.
The most intriguing part of this trade is the fact that uber-prospect Ronald Acuna now has a clear path to regular playing time in Atlanta’s outfield with Kemp out of the picture. Regarded by many as the top prospect in baseball, Acuna has the potential to be a five-category force in fantasy. His current ADP sits at 138.8, and it’s only going to rise as we get closer to the start of the season.
The Dodgers own the rights to a ton of different pitchers, and this pair will not be missed in L.A. The Braves have some young arms moving up their system, and these two allow the young throwers to hone their skills in the minors. If a prospect proves he is major-league ready, Kazmir or McCarthy can be released or moved to the bullpen.
In Culberson (892 ADP), the Braves get a 28-year-old shortstop who has no power (four HRs at Triple-A last year), little speed (seven SB), and can’t hit (.250 AVG). He’s a non-factor.
The Dodgers receive Matt Kemp (240 ADP) in return. He hit .276 with 19 homers in 467 PAs in 2017. He wasn’t a complete bust, but close. For now, he’s going to compete with Joc Pederson (360 ADP) for the Dodgers’ left field position. However, don’t be surprised if the Dodgers trade or release him at some point.
This trade would have been a blockbuster six to seven years ago. Now, it’s a snoozer at best.
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