LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp. Gonzalez then was designated for assignment by the Braves.
After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons.
Los Angeles was looking to reduce baseball’s highest payroll of $240 million last season as a way of lowering exposure to higher luxury taxes.
Kemp played for the Dodgers from 2006-14, hitting 182 home runs, fourth-most in Los Angeles history. The outfielder hit .276 with 19 homers, 64 RBIs and 23 doubles in 115 games last season with the Braves.
The 35-year-old Gonzalez helped the Dodgers win five straight National League West division titles after being acquired from the Red Sox in August 2012. He was an All-Star in 2015 and led the NL in RBIs in 2014, but went on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his back last season for the first time in his career. He was usurped at first base by NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger.
Gonzalez is owed $21.5 million in the final year of a $154 million, seven-year contract that the Dodgers absorbed in the 2012 trade with Boston.
Kazmir didn’t pitch last season because of a hip injury, one of many in his career. The 33-year-old left-hander went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 26 starts in 2016, his first with the Dodgers. He is owed $15 million in 2018.
McCarthy was 11-7 with a 4.51 ERA in 29 starts over three seasons with the Dodgers. The 34-year-old right-hander missed most of 2015 and 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went on the DL three times last season. He is owed $12 million in the last year of a $48 million, four-year deal.
Culberson is known for a pair of memorable homers with the Dodgers. His game-ending drive against Colorado in the 2016 regular-season finale clinched the NL West title. He also went deep in Game 2 of the World Series last season.
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