In the true Los Angeles spirit of cosmetic surgery, the Dodgers have undergone a major facelift. It started in mid-October when they hired former Tampa Bay Rays Vice-President Andrew Friedman to become president of baseball operations and made him the highest paid front office executive in baseball.
Then last month Friedman hired Farhan Zaidi to be his general manager. The two have really gone to work this week at the winter meetings in San Diego and, according to team sources, they've overhauled the Dodgers' roster.
Pending league approval, the Dodgers acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies. Rollins has spent his entire 15-year career there. He's a former MVP and 3-time all star who'll be in the final year of his contract next year. Next, the Dodgers got 2nd baseman Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels and sent their own 2nd baseman Dee Gordon to the Miami Marlins.
The Dodgers and Padres have also agreed on a deal to send slugger Matt Kemp to San Diego in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two other prospects. The Dodgers would send around $31 million dollars to the Padres to cover part of Kemp's Hefty contract.
Take Two host and KPCC's resident sports authority A. Martinez weighs in on the latest trades:
First impressions of this big deal
Well, right off the bat with Rollins and Kendrick replacing Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon, it seems as if the Dodgers are stressing defense without sacrificing too much offense. Rollins comes off the books at the end of the season giving shortstop prospect Corey Seager another year to develop. And then with Kemp not being there, that loosens up that logjam in the outfield and saves money long-term. But I think for me the catcher in the deal, Yasmani Grandal, who was one of the guys who was busted for steriods a little while back, but his bat has always been his calling card, I think they're hoping that his bat will develop and blossom so that it could make up for some of the offense that Kemp is not going to have for them anymore.
They had the problem of too many outfielders, but why Kemp?
Yes, he's still an injury concern, I would think and Carl Crawford is also an injury concern, but he's also a little bit younger than Crawford so I think that's the move there. And he just had a resurgence so his value is never going to be higher and they found someone to take on that big contract.
Do these moves help lower the Dodgers payroll?
Right, it does. They get rid of Kemp's contract, even though they're sending money first to kind of entice the Padres to make the deal and then when Jimmy Rollins' contract comes off the book that's more money that they're going to save and they're going to replace with a young inexpensive player, in their prospect Corey Seager if he's ready so yes. They seem to be getting better in some way and also losing a lot of money in the process.