This is an NBA-style contract-driven trade — Gonzalez is owed $21.5 million for 2018, Kazmir is owed $16 million for 2018, McCarthy is owed $10 million for 2018, and Kemp is owed $21.5 million per year for 2018-19. The Dodgers were already paying $3.5 million of Kemp’s salary in 2018 and 2019, however, from when they traded him to San Diego in the 2014-15 offseason.
Effectively, this means that the Dodgers are taking on a net $36 million obligation, spread over two seasons, in exchange for offloading $47.5 million in 2018 obligations to the Braves. I would wager that the cash the Dodgers are sending in the deal is pretty close to the difference between those obligations.
Why would Los Angeles do this? It reduces their luxury tax figure for 2018 while increasing it in 2019, which Ken Rosenthal says will allow them to re-set their luxury tax penalty rate heading into the monster 2018-19 free agent class.
As for the players, Gonzalez had a 642 OPS last year in 70-something games and lost his job to Cody Bellinger, while Kazmir didn’t even pitch — I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta waived each player immediately. McCarthy only pitched 92 innings, but was effective, and Atlanta could opt to keep him in their rotation or look to flip him to another team, as his $10 million salary isn’t unreasonable.
Kemp, meanwhile, put up a 783 OPS last year, but was so bad defensively he still had a -1.3 bWAR on the year. The Dodgers could hang onto him if they wanted to have him as a bench player, could look to pay down some of his contract while dealing him to an A.L. team looking for a DH, or waive him.
UPDATE — The Braves have already designated Gonzalez for assignment.
UPDATE II -- Ken Rosenthal says the Dodgers are expected to trade or release Kemp.