Dodgers pull off the expected in a very unexpected way

Most Dodger fans knew the Dodgers were going to try to get rid of the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez and at least one of Scott Kazmir or Brandon McCarthy but no one expected them to trade all three in one big fell swoop.

It helps of course that the new GM for the Braves was working for the Dodgers just a few weeks ago, so this dual back scratching trade helps the Dodgers avoid the Luxury Tax in 2018 and allows the Braves lots of financial flexibility in 2019 after Gonzalez/Kazmir/McCarthy come off their books. Adrian Gonzalez was immediately waived by the Braves and can now sign with any team.  Something the Angels should consider doing with Albert Pujols.

Eric Stephen breaks down the financial implications for the Dodgers and later in the day shows the financial flexibility the Dodgers gained.

Shed:
Gonzalez ($22 million)
Kazmir (~$15 million)
McCarthy ($12 million)

Take on:
Kemp ($16.5 million; $20 million AAV minus the $3.5 million they were already paying)
Cash to Braves ($4.5 million)

That lops roughly $28 million off the Dodgers’ luxury tax number for 2018, which in November we estimated to be about $204 million. That puts the Dodgers under the $197 million tax threshold with some room to maneuver without going over.

I especially found this tidbit useful.

Another note: Erisbel Arruebarrena and Yaisel Sierra, a pair of Cuban defectors who signed major league deals with $5 million average annual values, both remain in the organization but aren’t on the 40-man roster and don’t count toward the Dodgers’ taxable payroll.

I’d love to write about Matt Kemp playing LF for the Dodgers in 2018 but that does not appear to be in the cards. Most everyone expects the Dodgers to flip Kemp and save even more money, the only question will be how much money will the Dodgers have to throw in to make the deal happen.  We might find out very shortly.

Charlie Culberson barely played for the Dodgers but he did more in his brief time with the Dodgers than many historical Dodgers have done in many more games. Charlie, of course, hit the walk-off home run in Vin Scully’s last game at Dodger Stadium. He also came out of nowhere to sub for Corey Seager in the 2017 NLCS and was outstanding in that role.

Adrian Gonzalez was the last player left from the mega dollar deal that Ned Colletti pulled off in mid-2012 as the Dodgers tried to spend their way to a championship. It took five years but finally the Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez contracts are off the books. Adrian will end up as one of the best LAD 1st basemen in history. Only four LAD first baseman have accumulated as much as 10 bWAR.

Player            WAR/pos From   To   Age   PA  HR   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Steve Garvey         36.4 1969 1982 20-33 7027 211 .301 .337 .459 .796
Wes Parker           22.9 1964 1972 24-32 4835  64 .267 .351 .375 .726
Adrian Gonzalez      13.3 2012 2017 30-35 2986 101 .280 .339 .454 .793
Eric Karros          11.7 1991 2002 23-34 6624 270 .268 .325 .457 .782

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/16/2017.

Scott Kazmir was a horrible contract who missed all of 2017 after making 26 starts in 2016.

Brandon McCarthy was funny on twitter but didn’t pitch often enough or well enough, making just thirty-three starts over his three year Dodger career.  Losing McCarthy to Tommy John surgery just four games into his Dodger contract had ramifications to the roster in both 2015 and 2016.

The Dodgers have removed two of the worst deals this excellent front office has made. The worst deal was the Héctor Olivera deal and funny enough they have all been traded to the Braves.

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