SAN DIEGO -- Milwaukee GM David Stearns never talks about trade rumors, but he broke his own policy Saturday to shoot down the latest rumblings about a Ryan Braun-for-Matt Kemp swap between the Brewers and Dodgers.
"You guys know my policy, I don't like commenting on this type of stuff. But given that I don't want this to be any sort of distraction, I'll say when I first read it, I thought maybe someone was making an early April Fool's joke," Stearns said. "There's nothing to it."
No Dodger official would comment. Kemp, batting cleanup Saturday against the Giants, laughed and shook his head.
That's not to say the Brewers and Dodgers have never talked about a deal like this. They had significant talks about Braun midway through the 2016 season, but didn't get a deal done. The Dodgers are known to have some hesitation about Braun, who was suspended in 2013 and has battled a variety of injuries in recent years, including calf and wrist issues in 2017 that limited him to 104 games and 17 home runs.
"You have discussions all the time over the course of the offseason, with various crazy concepts," Stearns said. "Given the little I've read, it sounds like this may be a manifestation of something like that. But there's nothing clearly relevant."
He said he wanted to speak up in this instance -- on the record -- because "there's no need for this to fester."
Both players' bulky salaries make them prime targets for trade talk. Braun entered this season with three years and $57 million remaining on his contract, and Kemp is due $21.5 million in each of the next two seasons. They each are part of crowded outfields.
Braun started the Brewers' first two games at first base, his first career appearances there, as part of a plan to ease the team's outfield logjam. Braun came through with a two-strike, two-out, go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning of Friday's 8-6 win over the Padres at Petco Park.
That Braun was out of the Brewers' starting lineup on Saturday may have helped fuel Saturday's rumor. But it was pre-planned because the Padres started a right-hander, and Eric Thames manned first base.