The Dodgers closed baseball's winter meetings Thursday by agreeing to deal Kemp to the division rival Padres, continuing a swift and significant roster makeover that started with three trades the previous day.
Eflin will be moved to the
Slowed by injuries in recent years, the 30-year-old Kemp had a bounce-back season this year, hitting .287 with 25 home runs and 89 runs batted in, much of that production coming after the All-Star break. The Padres will pay him $15 million over the next five seasons, with the Dodgers covering the remainder of the $107 million he is guaranteed.
By trading him, the Dodgers became less dynamic offensively, but also less injury-prone. Considering Kemp's decline as a fielder in recent years, they probably improved defensively.
Top prospect Joc Pederson figures to start in center field next season, with
Kemp is the second high-caliber right-handed hitter to depart this winter, the first being
With Kemp and Ramirez playing elsewhere, Adrian Gonzalez remains as the only dependable run producer in the middle of the lineup.
The team's top right-handed-hitting threats will be Puig and second baseman Howie Kendrick, who was acquired Wednesday from the Angels.
Puig was an All-Star this year, but he was inconsistent. He hit only two home runs in the 88 games the Dodgers played from May 29 to Sept. 15 and was benched for the final game of the
Kendrick batted .293 this year and drove in 75 runs, but he hit only seven home runs.
Rollins, a 36-year-old switch-hitter, could replace
Grandal might be an upgrade from incumbent starting catcher
The Dodgers also feel they will improve their rotation by adding
The team remains in search of another starting pitcher and is expected to explore another trade with the Phillies, this one for Cole Hamels.
Whatever else the Dodgers do, this winter probably will be defined by how their 2015 season plays out relative to Kemp's.
Kemp was drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in 2003. A sixth-round selection, he quickly climbed up the Dodgers' farm system and broke into the major leagues in 2006.
By 2009, he was arguably the best position player on the Dodgers. By 2011, he was probably the best all-around player in the game, as well as the face of the franchise. That season, Kemp nearly won the National League triple crown, batting .324 with 39 home runs and 126 runs batted in. He also stole 40 bases and finished second in voting for the most-valuable-player award.
In a message posted on his Instagram account Thursday, Kemp thanked the Dodgers for "taking a chance on an Oklahoma kid." He also thanked the fans of Los Angeles.
"It is with a lot of emotion that I say goodbye to the city and the fans who have been there since the beginning of my career," Kemp wrote. "You have given me so much."