John Coppolella finally found someone willing to take Hector Olivera off his hands on Saturday when he dealt the embattled outfielder to the San Diego Padres for Matt Kemp. Olivera clearly had no chance of ever returning to Atlanta’s clubhouse and the organization was eager to cut ties after his arrest for domestic violence earlier this season.
The Braves add Kemp who is not the player that he used to be, but is a right handed bat with power and that is something that the current team has a desperate need for.
Coppolella talked about the move with MLB.com’s Mark Bowman following Saturday’s game and says the move improves the team right away as well as for next year.
"I think for us this makes a lot of sense," Coppolella said. "It's a sign that we aren't happy losing and we aren't trying to finish with the worst record so that we can get the first pick [in next year's Draft]. We want to win every night. Making this trade now is a big deal for us because it helps us to get better for this year and the next three years after that."
Braves president of baseball operations John Hart added:
"We like the Kemp trade and we like the dynamics of the Kemp trade," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. "We like the player. We feel this is just the first piece of what we're going to do this winter to begin to turn this club back around."
Kemp is currently under contract through 2019. The Braves also received a reported $10.5 million from San Diego in the trade to help offset Kemp’s salary.
The Padres will designate Olivera for assignment once he is eligible to return from his suspension on Tuesday. It remains to be seen whether or not he will get a chance with another major league club.