To help facilitate their deal to send Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to pay $32 million towards the $107 million that remains on the outfielder’s contract. In effect, the Padres will only end up having to pay Kemp a total of $75 million over the next five seasons to provide a strong bat for the middle of their lineup.
A report via the Associated Press (h/t to D.J. Short at NBC’s Hardball Talk) contained the breakdown of the payment details:
- 2015: $18 million
- 2016: $3.5 million
- 2017: $3.5 million
- 2018: $3.5 million
- 2019: $3.5 million
There are no indications why the Dodgers are paying such a significant amount up front in the deal, but it ultimately could be a factor that benefits both clubs in long run. Los Angeles’ concern is slightly mitigated by their deep pockets, of course, but with the bulk of the payment to San Diego being made in the first year it gives the club more financial flexibility once the 2015 season concludes. The Dodgers will be looking to add at least one option in the starting rotation at a point where there are expected to be multiple premiere options available. They might need two starters, should Zack Greinke exercise an opt-out clause in his contract.
For San Diego, seeing such a large chunk of the payment up front helps them this coming season. The team also acquired Justin Upton, knowing that he could walk in free agency next winter and that he’ll cost $14.5 million in 2015. As Short noted, “you could almost say that they (the Dodgers) are paying for Upton, too.”
It’s far more likely, however, that the added savings up front will end up being put towards an additional acquisition by the Padres front office. The organization has already made a number of moves but still could look to upgrade at either shortstop or first base. The club has also been linked to Cole Hamels, with Wil Myers reportedly being dangled as bait. Padres ownership has remained firm behind a public stance that they don’t plan to flip Myers, but if such a deal could bring back a true frontline starter to place atop the rotation then it may be considered more seriously. Of course, there could be variations where a deal might work without involving Myers and potentially including one of San Diego’s existing starters (as they’d appear, at least on paper, to have an abundance of starting options already) it could help offset further salary obligations this coming season.