The Los Angeles Dodgers made a bit of a surprising trade on Saturday, as they acquired a familiar face in Matt Kemp from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson and cash considerations.
The move was made not to acquire a right-handed hitting outfielder in Kemp, who is likely to be traded or released in the near future, but instead with the intention of shedding salary to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2018.
Los Angeles freed themselves of over $45 million in the form of expiring contracts of Gonzalez, McCarthy and Kazmir. Meanwhile, Culberson figures to have the best opportunity to make an impact for the Braves.
He became a Dodger hero and fan favorite in his short time with the organization, beginning with a walk-off home run to clinch the National League West in Vin Scully’s final home game.
The 28-year-old is now getting an opportunity to play for his hometown Braves, but first he took to Twitter to thank the Dodgers organization and fans:
“To the Dodgers Front Office, coaches, teammates, and thw Great Fans, my family and I thank you ALL for the last two years. You guys made mus feel like family and we will always be grateful for that. So many wonderful memories and relationships were made along the way. The Los Angeles Dodgers are a class act and anyone is lucky to play for them.
Bittersweet to be traded to a team I grew up watching as a little kid. I will always work hard and always have fun playing a game that I love. Here is to our next journey and playing for the Braves! #ChopOn”
While Culberson didn’t join the Dodgers until September as a call-up once active rosters expanded, he unexpectedly was forced into the spotlight. A back injury prevented Corey Seager from being included on the Dodgers’ roster for the NL Championship Series.
Culberson went 5-for-11 with two doubles, one triple and one RBI in five games (three starts) against the Chicago Cubs. While Seager returned, Culberson remained active for the World Series. He was 3-for-5 with one home run in five games (one start).
Culberson hit .275/.301/.363 in 83 games over parts of two seasons with the Dodgers.