Major League Baseball’s final day of the general manager Winter Meetings concluded with a bang on Thursday. The LA Dodgers traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres for a catcher and prospects; starting pitcher Jon Lester signed a mutli-year, multi-million dollar contract; and the Boston Red Sox sent some prospects and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit for starting pitcher Rick Porcello.
San Diego sent catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland, and a prospect to Los Angeles for Kemp and AAAA catcher Tim Federowicz. The Dodgers have also agreed to eat $31 million of Kemp’s remaining contract as part of the transaction. LA lost an outfielder that hit .287/.346/.506 in 599 plate appearances during the 2014 season — that’s the most plate appearances Kemp has had in a single season since 2011. Kemp also posted a wRC+ of 145, and an ISO of 220, which indicates that he still has plenty of pop in his bat; which is why San Diego went out and traded for him.
The Padres now have one of the more expensive outfielders in baseball, and he isn’t going to make them a playoff contender in 2015. San Diego has a ton of holes in its roster that aren’t going to be fixed by adding the power hitting outfielder. For example, Kemp’s back-up in center field is Abraham Almonte, who struggled with strikeouts and contact rate during his rookie campaign. If Kemp goes down with an injury (like he did in 2012 and 2013) then it’s going to be up to Almonte to man center field in Petco Park…yikes.
Starting pitcher Jon Lester also found a home, as he signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. Lester started 2014 with the Boston Red Sox before being traded to Oakland prior to the July 31st trade deadline. Despite the trade, Lester continued to perform admirably, as the starting pitcher struck out 9.01 batters per nine innings, while walking 1.97; and his 2.80 FIP shows how good he was at not allowing runs to score.
Detroit shipped starting pitcher Rick Porcello to Boston for Yoenis Cespedes. The Tigers hope that Cespedes will sure up their outfield defense, while improving their offensive attack. Cespedes put together a solid campaign in ’14 with .260/.301/.450 with a .321 wOBA and a 109 wRC+ that showed he was anything but a black hole in the line-up.
While Boston is hoping that Porcello provides them with some pitching depth.
Other notable transactions
Detroit acquired SP Alfredo Simon from Cincinnati
Miami acquired SP Mat Latos from Cincinnati
Kansas City signed DH Kendrys Morales to a two-year $17 million contract
Boston signed SP Justin Mastertson to a one year $9.5 million contract
St. Louis signs 1B Mark Reynolds to a one year $2 million contract
Minnesota signed SP Ervin Santana to a four-year $54 million contract
Chicago White Sox acquired RP Dan Jennings from Miami
Mets signed OF John Mayberry Jr. to a one year $1.45 million contract