The great Hector Olivera experiment is over for the Atlanta Braves, and it ends with some good news.
The Braves trade the troubled outfielder to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Matt Kemp.
Basically, each club was looking for a way to get out of a big, undesirable contract, so they just did a swap. The Padres were so willing to dump Kemp that they agreed to pay the Braves $10.5 million and took Olivera who, according to reports, will be designated by the club. The Padres feel it will free up some money, and the Braves are more than glad to get rid of a guy who is serving an MLB suspension after being arrested for assault and battery in April in Arlington, Va.
Additionally, and this in the grand scheme of big money baseball is most important, Olivera was a disaster. He was batting .114 in nine games with one RBI at Triple-A Gwinnett during his MLB “rehab” assignment. Plus, his play in left field was terrible.
With Kemp, the Braves add a big bat that is on pace to hit 30 homer this season. He is currently batting .262 with 23 homers and 69 RBIs, and for a team lacking in power, he will be a tremendous boost.
Braves General Manager John Coppolella told Mark Bowman of mlb.com: “I think for us this makes a lot of sense. 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. 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.”
The Braves are much better. The addition of Kemp by itself does that. But the subtraction of Olivera, by far the worst outfielder I have ever seen, makes the Braves even better. He was not a welcomed addition in the clubhouse, and now he is someone else’s problem.