Former teammates, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez were traded for each other on Saturday. (George Nikitin / Associated Press)
In a stunning move that reset the Dodgers’ luxury-tax payroll and temporarily reunited them with one of their finest players in recent memory, the team reacquired outfielder Matt Kemp from Atlanta in exchange for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Brandon McCarthy, pitcher Scott Kazmir and infielder Charlie Culberson.
The trade shifts the team’s three most onerous contracts onto the Braves, now under the stewardship of former Dodgers executive Alex Anthopoulos. The move could allow the Dodgers to get underneath the $197-million luxury-tax threshold in 2018 while maintaining flexibility for next winter, when Clayton Kershaw could join a star-studded class of free agents that includes Bryce Harper.
The trio of Gonzalez, McCarthy and Kazmir were owed approximately $47.5 million in 2018. Kemp will make $21.5 million in 2018 and another $21.5 million in 2019. The trade gives Atlanta financial flexibility for next season.
Gonzalez waived his no-trade clause in order to make the deal possible. The Braves are expected to designate him for assignment next week and allow him to reach free agency. The Dodgers were unlikely to be able to find at-bats for Gonzalez, who would be competing for time in the field along with hitters like Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles.
The same logjam applies to Kemp. The Dodgers may look to move him later in the winter, as the outfield does not feature many openings.