With less than 48 hours remaining until the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline, the Braves pulled off an unexpected move, swapping Hector Olivera to the Padres in exchange for Matt Kemp and cash considerations. Olivera has been a major disappointment, appearing in just 30 Big League games with Atlanta after the trade last July that sent Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza and Luis Avilan to Los Angeles. Then, this April, Olivera was arrested at the Braves team hotel in Arlington, VA and charged with one count of assault and battery. After an investigation, Olivera was suspended 82 games for violating MLB’s Domestic Violence Policy. Olivera was eligible to return on August 2nd, but John Hart and John Coppolella made it clear that he wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the Big League roster.
Meanwhile, the Braves have made it clear they are looking to find ways to add offense. In 100 games this season with San Diego, Kemp hit 24 doubles with 23 homers and 69 RBI. Overall, in 11 seasons in the Majors, Kemp is a lifetime .286 hitter with 228 career home runs. Kemp’s best season in the Big Leagues came in 2011 when he finished second in the MVP voting with 39 homers, 33 doubles and a career-high 126 RBI with the Dodgers. Kemp has twice won a Silver Slugger, is a two-time Gold Glover and has a pair of All-Star nods.
Kemp was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2003 Draft and is currently under team control through the 2019 season. Meanwhile, Olivera is signed through the 2020 season after signing a 6 year/$62.5 million dollar deal with the Dodgers in May of 2015. While some may say this is a swap of “bad contracts”, the 31 year old Kemp should help serve as a veteran presence on a relatively young, rebuilding ballclub.
Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin