Kemp Trade Sets Dodgers Up for Historic 2018 Free Agent Run

L.A. sheds bad contracts to join Yankees as player for players in historic free agent class.

Matt Kemp
Atlanta Braves' Matt Kemp watches the flight of a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in Atlanta. Kemp is returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that includes cash. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The real payoff for the five-player mega trade between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves won’t be realized until the 2018 offseason. While on paper, the Dodgers reacquire star outfielder Matt Kemp — in exchange for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir and infielder Charlie Culberson — there’s a very good chance he doesn’t crack the lineup. But Kemp will indeed impact the bottom line as the trade allows the Dodgers to shed a combined $51.6 million in 2018 payroll and avoid being crushed by the luxury tax. More importantly, that allows Los Angeles to join the New York Yankees as buyers in next year’s historic free agent class that includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson. Atlanta, meanwhile, absorbs the 2018 hit to rid itself of Kemp’s remaining two years and set itself up for 2019. Those numbers add up to a giant trade that will have more impact on a computer database than on the field.

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