After days of speculation about problems with a physical exam, the deal is official. The Dodgers have officially traded outfielder Matt Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz and $32 million in cash to the Padres in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland, and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The deal was first reported by Kirk Kenney and Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune last Thursday.
The Dodgers have been looking to create space in the outfield for quite some time, and Kemp was the most appealing outfielder they were willing to move. Despite a contract that will pay Kemp $107 million over the next five years, the Padres are willing to pay the price if they are getting the 2014 version of Matt Kemp. After injuries limited him to just 739 plate appearances in 2012 and 2013, Kemp appeared in 150 games in 2014, posting a slash line of .287/.346/.506 with 25 home runs. The move will create space for the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Joc Pederson, who posted a .303/.435/.582 slash line, along with 33 home runs for AAA Albuquerque. Federowicz, who appeared in just 89 games in four years with LA, will help a San Diego team in need of catching depth with Grandal on the move.
After missing out on Russell Martin earlier this offseason, the Dodgers began looking for other options to team up with incumbent starter AJ Ellis. Although Grandal has struggled with opposing base stealers, he is widely regarded as one of the top pitch framers in all of baseball. The Dodgers will have four years of team control of the switch-hitting catcher, who has a career slash line of .245/.350/.412.
The final two pieces expected to join Grandal in LA represent two intriguing pitching prospects heading out of San Diego. Joe Wieland, a former top 10 prospect in the Padres' system, is a 24 year-old right hander coming off a couple of injury-shortened seasons due to elbow issues. Although he has appeared in just nine games in his career with San Diego, Wieland has a 3.33 ERA in 95 minor league appearances. Eflin, the #33 overall pick in the 2012 draft, posted a 3.80 ERA in 24 starts for A+ Lake Elsinore, but will be flipped to the Phillies in the Jimmy Rollins deal that is expected to be announced on Friday.