Who “Won” the Matt Kemp Trade?

After Matt Kemp went 2-4 in his return to LA playing in right field, hitting all 3 of the Padres RBIs with one of his hits coming off a double, people were left shattered that the Dodgers traded him away; maybe, probably, they were wrong.

Apart from the fact that one game is not enough to determine whether a trade was successful or not, the main man LA got in return didn’t even play, not because he isn’t worth the Opening Day start but because it seems Clayton Kershaw has a personal catcher, and when you are the reigning MVP and Cy Young winner, you can really get what you want.

The actual trade was Matt Kemp and then minor league catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego in return for big league catcher Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.

Zach Eflin, who never made it past high A was then moved on, along with Tom Windle in exchange for the new shortstop for LA, Jimmy Rollins. Both of these young guys have never seen any AA or higher ball but are only 20 and 23 respectively. When you put into consideration that Jimmy Rollins is 36, and coming toward the end of his illustrious career, you start to see why Philadelphia wanted to look toward the future with these two guys.

But being in desperate need of the shortstop, LA got a magnificent replacement for Hanley Ramirez and one that is already paying off with Jimmy’s 2-4, 3 RBI day. If those numbers sound familiar that is because it is what Matt Kemp hit today too. The only difference in these two today was one hit a homerun in the clutch and the other only had a double. 1-0 Dodgers if we are going off today’s stats which is where most people are coming from.

Although if you were to pick a Matt Kemp or Jimmy Rollins for any team at the start of this year, most people would have leaned toward a healthy Kemp over the aging Rollins, me included. If you look Matt’s career slash line of OPB/SLG/OPS at .349/.495/.844 compared to Jimmy’s .327/.424/.751, you get the glimpse of who is the better player, especially when Matt is only 30, not young but compared to 36, it is a difference.

When Rollins was 30 he had won the gold glove at short 3 times, was a 3 time All Star and had won the MVP once. Kemp on the other hand has been an All Star twice, had 2 gold gloves and come runner up in the MVP once. I am sure there is plenty more in store for Matt but at 30 Rollins again has the upper had on achievements.

Maybe not in batting though, if you drag it back to 2009, when Rollins was in his fourth decade of life, his slash line looked like this .330/.439/.768, which is worse in all 3 categories than Kemp.

The next place to look would be the base running, we know both of these players have some amount of speed to their names and the numbers show just that. Again, although Jimmy has been in the big leagues for 6 more years, he has some better skill and/or speed when running the bases. Kemp is 74% when stealing compared to Jimmy’s 83%, Matt is 65% when trying for third on 27 attempts and Rollins is 86% on 111. The interesting thing here is that Jimmy is 3% higher when going for third than overall, most players would be down on their average as it is the easier throw to get the runner out but this does indicate some sort of “base running smarts” that Rollins possesses, knowing when to go to third and how to read the pitcher and catcher in those situations. In fact the ex Philly is 27th all time on base stealing percentage, with speed a big factor but also smarts.

If you were to look solely at the hitting it is Matt Kemp who would win over Jimmy but once the running comes into it, Rollins makes some big strides in catching up to the one time Dodger, this one is tight for who ‘wins’.

The next big part of the deal was Yasmani Grandal to the Dodgers and Tim Federowicz to the Padres. If you look at the trade as this being on segment and Kemp, minus one prospect, for Rollins, minus one prospect, the trade has one lopsided part to it for LA and a more unfair deal to SD. Although Grandal hasn’t had the numbers to light up the MLB and get into 5 All Star teams in his life, he knows how to hit and has the experience to do so.

Grandal with the Padres before the trade.

Grandal with the Padres before the trade.

Here we see a 26 year old Major League catcher come across in exchange for a 27 year old Minor League catcher who hasn’t been without his fair share of injures either. Already you see some problems in this bit.

Don’t let the numbers fool you either; Yasmani Grandal is a better hitter than his .245 average suggests, one time the bad average worked in LA’s favor, where as Tim isn’t much better than his lifetime .194 major league average indicates,

The slash line we referred to before shows an interesting comparison in Kemp v Grandal too. Yasmani’s is .350/.412/.762 and when compared to Matt’s 349/.495/.845 it looks like the new Padre has the old one covered although the on base percentage is almost the same, showing (in this case) that both aren’t the best at it, but find themselves on first or better an average amount of the time. The best hitters in the game right now, Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout all have an OBP of around .400 or just under, showing here that Kemp isn’t all that he needs to be to prove his worth.

If you bring the slash line back compared to FedEx’ .277/.300/.547, you see that Yasmani leads in not only all three categories here but also everyone else in offense but not so much defense. This wont worry the Dodgers too much as the biggest problem they had last year was the catchers not hitting but this acquisition should fix that up for them.

The last part to this deal was Joe Wieland to LA, just to help sell it to the front office, not that they need it after breaking down the numbers and getting what they got in return. Joe has played every level of professional baseball from rookie ball to the Majors and has had some experience in his short career that some don’t get in their lives. He has pitched in 9 games for San Diego, his debut coming when he was 22, in 2012, and that year went 0-4 with a 4.55 ERA before being sent back down to AAA where he consolidated and went 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA.

His second stint came in 2014 where he started two games and relived two, getting his first major league win but also giving up a 7.31 ERA both in relief and starting.

Wieland will most likely start his season in AAA Oklahoma City and will work his way back to the big leagues if called on. A handy pick up in the trade but not as good though as that prospect Eflin was going to be.

Overall for the trade the ratings are as follows, for right now and what the teams will get out of the players should they stick with them for the duration of the career.


Matt Kemp: 8.5/10, 9/10

Tim Federowicz: 6.5/10, 6.5/10


Yasmani Grandal: 7/10, 8/10

Joe Wieland: 4.5/10, 5/10

*Zach Eflin: 5.5/10, 6.0/10

(Jimmy Rollins): 8.5/10, 8.5/10

*Subtract as he has left the club


Padres: 15.5, 15.5

Dodgers: 14.5, 15.5

All I can draw from these stats and my own rankings is that no one actually “won” the Matt Kemp trade but the teams did get what they were looking for. The Padres got a bat that means thump and the Dodgers picked up an offensive catcher. Both front offices did well on this deal and now with the room in the outfield we will see how Joc Pederson roams around center field. Go Blue.


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