The San Diego Padres traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday in exchange for Hector Olivera, the Braves announced on Saturday. 

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the news. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Padres would send between $10 million and $12 million to Atlanta to help offset the remainder of Kemp’s salary. 

It’s the second time Kemp’s team has traded him since late 2014. The Padres acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers as they attempted to bolster their roster for what ended up being a disappointing 2015 campaign.

The 31-year-old right fielder enjoyed a steady rise during his nine years with the Dodgers. He peaked in an outstanding 2011 season during which he racked up 40 stolen bases and 39 home runs while posting a career-high .399 on-base percentage.

He hasn’t replicated that success since, though. His power numbers were serviceable last season with 23 homers, but he had just 12 steals, and his OBP fell to .312, which marked a five-year low. That downward OBP trend continued in the first half this year, though his pop remained an asset.

Ultimately, after the Padres’ rapid-building approach failed, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Kemp became available.

There were a couple of hurdles the front office had to jump to move him, however. The biggest one was the outfielder’s contract, which is slated to pay him $21.5 million per year in base salary through the 2019 season, per Spotrac, though the Dodgers are on the hook for $3.5 million a season through 2019.

Then there are the lingering injury concerns. While he played at least 150 games in 2014 and 2015, he missed 145 contests between 2012 and 2013. He revealed to Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated last May that his body doesn’t respond quite as well as it used to.

“I can still run, but I can’t run like I used to run,” Kemp said. “I got to do a lot more maintenance, making sure my body is right. When I was younger, I could just get out of bed, go play a game and be good. I’ve got to warm up, get those muscles loose to get ready for a game. It’s a process now.”

That said, he still has a lot of natural talent and should have a couple of strong seasons left, assuming he can stay healthy. 

He also adds a veteran presence to an Atlanta team that has struggled throughout the season. The Braves are 36-67 and aren’t a serious contender, but Kemp gives them an experienced option who can add some power to the lineup as the club moves into a new ballpark next year. Atlanta ranks dead last in baseball in total home runs. 

In return, the Padres get Olivera, who is set to finish an 82-game suspension Monday after he was charged on April 13 with one count of misdemeanor assault and battery. However, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported Olivera would be designated for assignment by the Padres upon completion of the deal. 

A Cuban defector, the 31-year-old Olivera has played 30 major league games since 2015 and batted .245 with two home runs and 13 RBI. Per Lin, he is due $28.5 million over the next four years.


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