Monday, August 01, 2016

The Kemp Olivera Trade

Matt Kemp brings right-handed power to the Braves lineup. This year he has hit more home runs than all other Braves outfielders combined. The trade with the Padres rids Atlanta of Hector Olivera, who did zero right in a Braves uniform. The highly-touted Cuban fooled scouts for numerous teams: he couldn't hit, field, throw, or comport himself to standards anywhere near that of a major league baseball player.

IJ Rosenberg thought the Braves should've just eaten Olivera's contract, thinking the team could've gotten more production for the extra $8.5 million a year from someone other than the sometimes injured 31 year-old Matt Kemp. I'm not so sure, based on the going rate for semi-productive outfielders like Jason Heyward. Atlanta doesn't have a big bat ready to step in and do what Kemp can do. Kemp is no Mike Trout, but there is only one Mike Trout out there that I'm aware of.

As usual, lots of fans on Twitter were making fools of themselves talking about the trade, including one lawyer who couldn't understand why Kemp couldn't be in the lineup Sunday for the 1 pm game. The trade wasn't finalized until after 9 pm eastern time. Had he immediately rushed to the airport it still would've taken him 2-3 hours to arrive 1-2 hours early for a 4-5 hour long flight. That would've gotten him to the ballpark an hour before game time with zero quality sleep, with zero prep time and the expectation of a world-class performance in 100 degree heat (for a last place team). Even if the logistics could have been worked out, it wouldn't have been worth it. Such a trip might've even been against the rules in the collective bargaining agreement, and subject to a grievance being filed. Better to give Kemp time to get his affairs in order, and time to arrive rested and ready to play on Tuesday.

Kemp may strike out a lot, but so does just about everyone else. He is no Dan Uggla. The past four years his batting average and on base percentage have declined, but this year his power numbers are up. Injuries always play a factor, as well as who hits ahead and behind him in the order. Paired with Freddie Freeman, Kemp's mere presence adds solidity to the Braves lineup. And they don't have the Olivera anvil around their necks any more.

08 23 18 078 153 290 340 459 799
09 24 26 101 139 297 352 490 842
10 25 28 059 170 249 310 450 760
11 26 39 126 159 324 299 586 986
12 27 23 069 103 303 367 529 906
14 29 25 089 145 287 346 506 852
15 30 23 100 147 265 312 443 755
16 31 23 069 100 262 285 489 774
Rob: I thought it was a very good trade. I agree with your point - I don't know where else you were going to get 30+ HR's a season for $8.5MM/Year.

We were at Friday's game sitting in the Club Level. When you first walk into the club level concourse, there is a sign that says no asking for autographs. However, every time someone like Murphy, Mazzone, Francisco Cabrera, etc came out of a suite to use the restroom or leave, they were besieged by autograph hounds - not kids, but adults with binders of baseball cards, photos, bats and balls.

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