Does Matt Kemp = Vernon Wells?

BY foxsports • December 11, 2014

As these things are now generally measured, Matt Kemp was roughly four wins better than a replacement-level player.

Not last season. Over the last three seasons.

Let's be charitable, and assume he's a better fielder than the numbers suggest, and that the injuries were less fair than was fair. Let's assume he's actually been worth more like six wins over the last three seasons, or two per season.

As these things are generally measured, that would make Kemp "worth" roughly $10 million per season.

The Padres just agreed to pay Kemp 50 percent more than that. In each of the next five seasons.

For the privilege of paying Kemp $75 million, they also sent catcher Yasmani Grandal to the Dodgers. Grandal is not a great player and probably won't be; on the other hand, he's probably been about half as good as Kemp, and will continue to be half as good as Kemp. Roughly speaking. As best we're able to measure these things.

This transaction looks from our distance quite strange. Dave Cameron's reminded of when the Angels took Vernon Wells off the Blue Jays' hands. Remember how that one worked out? Dave's big finish:

This trade will be about Kemp’s star power and what that will do for ticket sales or television rights fees or team morale. The Padres better hope that Kemp really does add a lot of value in those areas, because I don’t really see any way he adds enough baseball value to justify this deal from their perspective.


I can see taking a flyer on an ex-star like Kemp for a few months, or a year, if you're desperate. I can't see devoting a large percentage of your payroll to a player like Kemp in his 30s for five years. I just can't see it at all. If I'm a Dodgers fan today, I'm as happy as I've been since 1988. If I'm a Padres fan, I'm cursing the day Andrew Friedman left the Sunshine State.


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