Originally Published: July 31, 2016 6:02 a.m.
Braves acquire Matt Kemp, send Hector Olivera to San Diego
ATLANTA (AP) — The Braves acquired pricey slugger Matt Kemp and $10.5 million from San Diego for troubled outfielder Hector Olivera.
Atlanta had tried for several months to deal Olivera following his April 13 arrest on domestic violence charges. He is eligible to play again in the major leagues on Tuesday following his 82-game domestic violence suspension.
Despite arthritis in both hips, Kemp could boost the weakest offense in the major leagues. Atlanta has baseball's worst record and ranks last in runs scored and homers.
The Braves have just one marquee everyday player, first baseman Freddie Freeman, and need more star appeal as they move a few miles north into a new suburban ballpark next year.
Kemp has a $21.5 million salary this year and is owed the same amount in each of the next three seasons.
San Diego is sending Atlanta $3 million this year as part of the trade: half on Aug. 15 and the rest on Sept. 15. From 2017-19, the Padres will pay the Braves $2.5 million annually, half each May 15 and July 15.
Nationals acquire Melancon from Pirates
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker called Mark Melancon on Saturday from the visiting clubhouse at AT&T Park, one thing that impressed them right away about their new All-Star closer is that he planned to immediately check in with Jonathan Papelbon.
"It says a lot about his character and makeup, and that was a big reason why he was such an attractive target to us," said Rizzo, Washington's general manager. "His performance level is great but his makeup and character are a lot of the reason that we went out and got him. That tells me he's team-first and Mark Melancon second."
Washington sent reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn to the Pirates to acquire Melancon, who supplants the struggling Papelbon as Washington's closer. Rizzo and Baker also spoke to Papelbon, who made it clear he "wants to win," Baker said.
Melancon is expected to join the Nationals on Sunday for their series finale at San Francisco.
Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington tried to tell Melancon he had been traded. And tried. And tried.
"I felt bad because I missed his call three times because my phone was on silent, so I woke up to that," the reliever said after he awakened from his nap and learned of the deal.
A 31-year-old right-hander, Melancon has converted 30 of 33 saves with a 1.51 ERA this season and joins his fifth organization in eight years. He is making $9.65 million and is eligible for free agency after the World Series; as part of the swap, the Pirates will pay Washington $500,000 on Sept. 1.
Lucroy held out of Brewers' starting lineup
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy was not in the starting lineup for Saturday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates as the Brewers considered trade possibilities.
General manager David Stearns and manager Craig Counsell met before the game and decided not to start Lucroy.
"He's progessing on something," Counsell said of Stearns. "We thought it best that he not be in the lineup today.
A two-time All-Star, the 30-year-old Lucroy is batting .300 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs. He has a $4 million salary this year as part of a contract that includes a $5.25 million team option for 2017.
"He has not been traded," Counsell said. "He's available to us today. I'll use him if something comes up and I have to use him. But, he's making progress, so we thought it best to not play him."
Lucroy was in the clubhouse and dressed for batting practice.
"I'm not playing today," he said. "I'm sure it has something to do with things that are going on."