It’s no surprise that the Padres would be looking to trade Matt Kemp. He wasn’t the electric star he was with the Dodgers even when the Padres acquired him in 2015 after he’d been through several injuries. Even while he was being traded, it was revealed he had severe arthrities in his hips. Since then, he’s hit .264/.301/.462 in a fairly uneventful career in San Diego while signed to a deal that will earn him $21.5 million a year until 2019 (Kindly enough, the Dodgers will be contributing $3.5 million to that contract annually).
It’s also no surprise that the Braves are in last place. They have been all year, they are rebuilding hard, and though they have made a trade or two that seemed to propel their project forward, they are still compiling assets.
What is a surprise is that these two narratives have apparently now crossed paths - with the caveat of “nothing is close.”
Rosenthal says that the Padres are trying to shake off some big contracts from their books and are willing to throw fistfuls of cash at interested teams to do it. The Braves, apparently, are “seeking offense,” which is probably good for a baseball team to have (Worth nothing: The Braves are 13th in team BA for the season at .241, but have the third highest team BA in the National League at .266 since the All-Star Game).
However, Kemp is not the most likely choice for a team on such a hunt given his injury-ridden downfall and bulky contract - though since the All-Star break, he’s hit .315 with a 1.110 OPS. After a brief 0-for-13 stretch, he hit safely in eleven straight games from July 16-27. In the extremely small sample size offered by the second half thus far, these two sides are uncharacteristically thriving.
On that note, the Braves are still in the early phases of their rebuild and their reported desire to trade for a player like Kemp is catching a few people off guard.