In rumors that would have been insane seven years ago …
BREAKING: Just received info from a reliable source that there is a possible trade in the works between the Dodgers and Brewers involving @TheRealMattKemp and several top Dodger prospects.
— Ron Cervenka (@Think_BlueLA) March 31, 2018
I can confirm that the trade talks with the #Dodgers and #Brewers are for Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun as well as Dodger prospects. Right now, the deal is hung up one specific player the #Dodgers don't want to move.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) March 31, 2018
To be sure, there was a time when Braun and Kemp were among the best players in baseball (notably, back in 2011 when a PED-infused Braun robbed Kemp of an MVP). But that time is long past, and each is but an aged, injured husk of the player he once was.
So, as Duarte intimates, any trade involving these guys would be mostly about the salaries and prospects involved. Kemp’s complicated trade history makes it such that the Dodgers owe him $19.25 million each of this and next year, but his AAV for luxury tax purposes is $20 million … but the Dodgers are getting money from the Padres for that, so I think their AAV hit on Kemp is $17.5 million each year, and that’s the number that matters most to them.
Braun is owed $60 million over the next three years, but the AAV of his deal is $21 million. Because there’s so much money at play, there’s a way the two teams could swap the functionally-equivalent players (Kemp is 33 with some bat left and no defense, Braun is 34 with a little more bat left and no defense), structure who pays whom such that it saves the Dodgers AAV and saves the Brewers real money, and the Brewers wind up with a prospect or two for their trouble.
That is all to say, while this trade wouldn’t be very sexy on paper in terms of how it would impact the 2018 teams, it could really help each team – both big competitors of the Cubs – down the road. Hence why they’re talking.
So, well, watch out.
(And yeah, April Fools is tomorrow, but, again, the financial implications of a deal like this actually ring quite plausible to me. So if it’s just a prank, well, prank better.)
UPDATE: I knew this was what the denial would look like:
David Stearns never comments on trade rumors — except this one. When he saw the Ryan Braun-Matt Kemp rumblings a half hour ago, he thought it was an early April Fools joke. “There’s nothing to it,” Stearns said.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 31, 2018