The Los Angeles Dodgers traded away outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres, along with catcher Tim Federowicz, for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin. While the trade received some backlash from Dodger fans because of Kemp’s popularity in Los Angeles, it addressed a need, or possibly two, for the team as a whole.
Being traded for a fan favorite like Kemp could come with some big expectations, but the biggest piece of the trade doesn’t see it that way. “No, no pressure at all. I’m going to keep doing the same thing that I was doing in San Diego, and, you know, try and help this team win,” Grandal said. “They said they needed a catcher. Hopefully me and A.J. can take this team to a World Series.”
Grandal is a 26-year-old, switch-hitting catcher that will likely take over the primary duties behind the plate. It’s expected that Ellis will catch when Clayton Kershaw pitches, and back up the new addition. Although Ellis has held down the fort the past few years, he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness last season, hitting just .191 in 93 games.
Though he hasn’t quite been a superstar, or even an All-Star, Grandal isn’t necessarily flattered by being traded for the best hitter in the second half of 2014. “No not really. I mean yes, it is, but I think both teams got what they wanted. The Dodgers were looking for a catcher. San Diego was looking for a big time bat and that’s what Kemp brought to the table, and that’s what I brought to the table,” the Cuban catcher said. “So, you know, the trade happened and I’m very thankful to be here and to be a Dodger.”
While Grandal doesn’t feel any added pressure, he will be under intense pressure and scrutiny from the fans early on and it will be interesting to see how he reacts on the field.