Say hey, baseball: Matt Kemp is finally traded. Now what?

Friday morning’s baseball checks in on the new-look Padres, Vin Scully’s lost ring, and the Giants’ offseason.

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day, and trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end.

★★★

It took forever for Matt Kemp to undergo the physical that would decide the fate of the Padres – Dodgers trade because Kemp was in Las Vegas. You can’t blame him for taking a vacation during the winter meetings — he’s been on the trade block almost as long as he’s been in the majors, and he’s never been moved before, so that seemed as safe a time as any. It ended up pushing his physical to two days before the deadline for the trade to be completed, however, and then it turned out Kemp had arthritis in both of his hips, meaning the Padres spent those two days talking with doctors to find out if this was going to be a problem.

It’s easy to criticize the Padres for taking on the five years and $75 million they have to pay Kemp — remember, the Dodgers are coughing up $32 million to remove Kemp from their roster — because of that physical, but it’s worth remembering a few things. We don’t know how severe the arthritis is, or how much it will impact Kemp. The professionals who did see his medical results do have an idea about this, and told the Padres their thoughts. Doctors screw up, sure, but they have a better idea of this sort of thing than me or Twitter or your weird uncle who still thinks a million dollars is too much for baseball players to make to play a kids’ game. It’s also worth remembering this condition didn’t just appear between October and December of 2015, and that Kemp managed a 140 OPS+ this past summer with those same hips. This is a huge risk, but the Padres aren’t paying Kemp like an elite superstar: they’re paying him like someone with that kind of talent who also happens to come with a whole bunch of risk.

Plus, he fits into their present-day plan, which not only includes the youthful and talented Wil Myers thanks to an aggressive swap of prospects, but also catcher Derek Norris, who isn’t a free agent until 2019, is just 26, and has been at least the equal of the departed Yasmani Grandal during his time in the league. This opens up the opportunity for the Padres to move top prospect and backstop Austin Hedges, either to solidify the top of their rotation or upgrade first base. There are possibilities here, and they seem realistic for the first time in San Diego in years. That’s what new GM A.J. Preller is doing, since we’re all asking that question.

December 19, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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