After a week of waiting, and a day that saw medical information leaked and accusations thrown from Los Angeles to San Diego, the deal sending Matt Kemp from the Dodgers to the Padres was officially completed late Thursday night.
Once the dust settled, the official deal was the same as it was originally crafted shortly after last week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego — Kemp, catcher Tim Federowicz and cash to the Padres in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-handed pitching prospects Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.
Padres have acquired Matt Kemp. It is officially official.
The deal also means that the Dodgers’ deal with the Phillies to acquire Jimmy Rollins — also put together at the Winter Meetings — will go through, as it is believed Philadelphia wanted Eflin to be included in the deal.
It was the first of three big deals by new Padres general manager A.J. Preller, who also has added outfielder Wil Myers, the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, from Tampa Bay and All-Star catcher Derek Norris from Oakland.
The Padres, desperate to pump up the worst offense in the majors, also get $32 million from the Dodgers to help offset the $107 million remaining on Kemp’s contract. The Padres’ obligation of $75 million to Kemp over five years becomes the biggest deal in club history.
The closing of the deal brings to an end to a rather contentious day, as news broke early that the Kemp deal was being held up because the 30-year-old outfielder’s physical revealed that he has severe arthritis in both of his hips, first reported by USA Today.
Padres President Mike Dee declined to comment on the specifics of Kemp’s physical or address the arthritis reports.
"It was a process that played out in a way that was, I think, consistent with what we thought going into it," Dee told The Associated Press. "We had a player that had some prior injures and we wanted to make sure we did a full exam. A.J. and his team did their due diligence, conferred with our medical team and ultimately were comfortable moving forward."
FOX Sports MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal previously reported that Kemp’s health was the only thing keeping the trade from being finalized, but the exact nature of the hold-up was not known until Thursday. Some speculated the trade could be voided because of the physical, while others believed the Padres were simply trying to gain leverage to extract more money from the Dodgers than the agreed-upon $32 million. But in the end, like the players involved, the amount stayed the same.
Source: #Padres asked #Dodgers to increase financial contribution, but LAD refused.
Kemp has had shoulder and ankle operations in recent years. Last May, he was groomed to play left field because the Dodgers weren’t confident he could handle the defensive demands of playing center field after undergoing ankle surgery the previous offseason.
The Padres had a historically awful offense in the first half of 2014 before pulling out of it to finish third in the NL West. Still, they were at the bottom of the majors with a .226 average, .292 on-base percentage and 535 runs. Their 109 homers were the second-fewest in the bigs.
Kemp had a strong second half in 2014 for the NL West champion Dodgers. He finished the season with a .287 average, 25 home runs and 89 RBI.
Grandal, 26, led the Padres with 15 homers last season while hitting .225.
Grandal was suspended for the first 50 games of 2013 after testing positive for testosterone and then tore up his right knee in a collision at the plate that July. He’s also played first base.
An 11-player, three-team trade that will bring Myers to the Padres is expected to be finalized Friday morning.
On Thursday night, Preller made a deal with Oakland to obtain Norris and minor-league right-hander Seth Streich for righties Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez along with an international signing bonus slot.
Norris, 25, batted .270 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI in 127 games for the A’s, who lost AL Wild Card Game at Kansas City.