4:31pm: MLB.com’s Mark Bowman implies that talks between the two sides aren’t especially active at the moment, tweeting that “if the Braves revisit” Kemp discussions with the Padres, then San Diego would “seemingly have to be willing” to take on the remaining money owed to Hector Oliver in a swap of bad contracts. Currently serving a suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy, Olivera is owed $28.5MM from 2017 through 2020.
3:34pm: The Padres are working to trade Matt Kemp and are willing to eat the vast majority of the money he is owed, reports ESPN’s Jim Bowden (via Twitter). The Braves are one of two teams to which San Diego is currently talking he adds. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that he hears similar chatter. The Padres are working to move Kemp, and they’ve talked to the Braves, who are looking for ways to add to their offense.
Kemp, 31, is owed $21.5MM in each of the next three seasons, and the Padres are on the hook for $18MM of that sum on an annual basis. (The Dodgers are picking up the other $3.5MM in each of those seasons.) Trading him has long seemed like a difficult feat, as Kemp’s considerable power is largely negated by his poor defense and his difficulty getting on base. Though he’s clubbed 24 homers this season, Kemp is hitting .262/.285/.489 overall, which translates to just a few ticks above the league-average batting line, per park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ and wRC+.
The Braves have, in the past, been said to be willing to take on large contracts in order to acquire meaningful prospects from a trading partner. It seems unlikely, however, that the rebuilding Padres, who have been accumulating as much minor league talent as possible as of late, would give up any of their top-tier talent to shed Kemp’s deal. From a speculative standpoint, the Braves could look to utilize Nick Markakis’ contract to balance out some of the salary involved, though taking on Markakis could prove troublesome for the Padres, who undoubtedly would like to give slugging corner outfield prospect Hunter Renfroe a chance to bring his career .323/.351/.594 batting line at Triple-A to the Majors.