The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled off one of the more significant trades of the offseason by sending Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Matt Kemp.
By moving Gonzalez’s, Kazmir’s and McCarthy’s contracts, the Dodgers successfully trimmed enough payroll to get beneath the $197 million luxury tax threshold. If they remain below that figure all season, it’ll reset further penalties in time for a historic 2019 free agent class that may include the likes of Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Manny Machado, among others.
The Braves went on to release Gonzalez, who eventually signed a one-year contract with the New York Mets for the minimum.
Prior to that coming to fruition, Gonzalez first had to waive his no-trade clause to be sent to the Braves. The veteran first baseman revealed he initially rejected the trade a handful of times before ultimately signing off, per Mike Puma of the New York Post:
Revisiting the series of transactions that brought him to the Mets, the former All-Star told The Post he only agreed to waive his no-trade clause with the Dodgers after the team offered him additional compensation. Gonzalez indicated he said no to the trade five times before agreeing to the deal, with the promise he would be released by the Braves.
So what changed his mind?
“We had some internal discussions, let’s put it that way,” Gonzalez said smiling. “The Dodgers sweetened the deal every single time.”
While it must’ve been difficult for Gonzalez, a Southern California native, to leave the Dodgers, a move for both sides made sense after he was left off all three postseason rosters.
With the emergence of eventual 2017 National League Rookie of the Year winner Cody Bellinger at first base, there would’ve been little playing time for Gonzalez in Los Angeles moving forward.
He joined a Mets team that don’t have clear starter at first base.
Should Gonzalez break camp with New York as expected, he’ll return to Dodger Stadium on Sept. 3 when both clubs square off in the first of a three-game series.