Padres find coveted bat at Meetings, look to add another

After trading for Kemp, Friars' next move appears to be landing corner infielder with power

Padres find coveted bat at Meetings, look to add another

SAN DIEGO -- Will Venable had been following the Padres' offseason activity from afar from his home in Texas, but the news late Wednesday that the team had landed Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp in a five-player deal resonated deeply with him.

Chances are it did with Padres fans as well, as this trade -- not yet made official -- might rate as one of the most momentous in the history of the franchise.

"I think Matt Kemp is a pretty big deal and a great player," said Venable, who figures to play alongside Kemp in the outfield in 2015. "It gets you excited."

Padres acquire Kemp

The Padres, generally quiet for most of the offseason, made a big splash late Wednesday, sending three players to the Dodgers for Kemp, a two-time All-Star, who offers the middle-of-the-order bat the team has been seeking.

The team did miss on signing Korean left-handed pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim to a deal before Thursday's 2 p.m. PT deadline. The Padres paid $2 million to win the negotiations rights for Kim, and they talked to his agent on several occasions this week, but they ultimately couldn't reached a deal.

Deals done
The big one, landing Kemp from the Dodgers as part of a five-player deal that saw the Padres part with three players -- two who didn't factor in the team's plans for 2015.

Kemp will hit in the middle of the order and play right field for the Padres, and moving catcher Yasmani Grandal in the deal will allow Rene Rivera -- who had a breakout year in 2014 -- to handle the everyday catching duties. Tim Federowicz, who joins the Padres from the Dodgers, will back up Rivera.

Rule 5 activity
The Padres didn't lose anyone in the Major League or Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

However, they were able to acquire some middle-infield depth by adding shortstop Juan Carlos Gamboa from the Mets in the Triple-A portion of the Draft. Gamboa, 23, hit .306/.386/.472 over 356 plate appearances with Mexico City in 2014.

Gamboa is a .271/.354/.390 hitter in parts of five seasons in the Mets' system.

Goals accomplished
The Friars found the middle-of-the-order bat they've long coveted and have been missing since the team traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox following the 2010 season.

Brock on Padres adding Kemp

Kemp projects to hit in the middle of the order for the Padres, who hope his strong second half in 2014 -- .309/.365/.606 with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs in 263 plate appearances -- is a sign of things to come.

The Padres also had several conversations with teams on potential deals for corner infielders who could help upgrade the offense. That's likely the next move for San Diego.

Unfinished business
One bat down ... one to go? The Padres entered the offseason looking to add bats to lineup. They have, apparently, added Kemp. Now the hunt is on for more additions. It's safe to say the team is looking for corner infielders -- and power is a preference.

Chances are the team could look at the remaining options on the free-agent market, though they will most certainly look to fill this need through trades. Even after the Kemp deal, the team still has some arms, especially on the Minor League side, it can move to get offensive help.

Team's bottom line
The Padres, who a year ago had a club-record $90 million payroll, will push past that in 2015. The addition of Kemp and arbitration raises guarantees that. From all indications, the team isn't done, as general manager A.J. Preller has been active in discussions with teams about additional upgrades.

But for a team that seldom has offered manager Bud Black much in the way of offense in his first eight seasons, the addition of Kemp signals a dramatic shift for the organization.

That said, it's just one hitter. There's more work to be done.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.