Posted December 10, 2013

Mariners, Tigers, Red Sox among five teams eyeing Matt Kemp in trade talks

Matt Kemp, Winter Meetings
Matt Kemp finished second in MVP voting in 2011, but has battled injuries the last two seasons. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Matt Kemp finished second in MVP voting in 2011, but has battled injuries the last two seasons. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Five teams have emerged as the most serious suitors for Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp: Seattle, Detroit, Boston and two unidentified National League teams.

As trade talks between those five clubs and the Dodgers proceed, Kemp is beginning to lessen concerns about his recovery from ankle and shoulder injuries. He recently shed the walking boot he had been using for the left ankle that was surgically repaired in October. He has begun upper body workouts, which he had been unable to do before last season until January. He underwent a procedure on his left shoulder in October prior to the ankle surgery.

The Dodgers expect Kemp to be ready for spring training. They have been telling clubs they are prepared to play next season with Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig splitting 1,800 or so at-bats for three outfield spots. Both clubs have pursued Kemp with the idea that Los Angeles would kick in some of the $128 million owed to Kemp over the next six years.

Kemp, 29, was the runner-up for National League MVP in 2011 when he batted .324 and led the NL in runs, home runs, OPS+ and total bases and the majors in RBIs. That November, he signed an eight-year, $160 million contract that at the time was the largest ever by an NL player.

Kemp played just 106 games in 2012 and only 73 last year, batting .270 with six home runs. He did not appear in the postseason as the NL West champion Dodgers reached the NLCS before losing in six games to the Cardinals.

10 comments
urkillinme
urkillinme

You can't have talks between 5 clubs. You can have talks among 5 clubs. Also, they can't split 1,800 at bats among 4 players, but they can divide 1,800 among them. Did Tom Verducci go to school?

tracejuno
tracejuno

It's funny how whenever a team (Seattle) spends a lot of money on a player (Cano), they immediately become part of other major trade rumors (Price, Kemp). 

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

The Dodgers have no reason to trade Kemp.  His injuries were flukes in nature, not indications of body wear.  Trading Kemp now at the lowest valuation of this career would be a terrible business move.  It's not like keeping Kemp on the payroll prevents the Dodgers from acquiring other assets.  Unless another team breaks from the consensus and offers a package of high level prospects or a legitimate MLB player, the Dodgers should at least give Kemp the opportunity to get healthy and prove his worth this season as a valid franchise player or to increase his trade value for next offseason.  If Kemp has another injury-plagued 2014 season, the Dodgers would still get a low-level prospect and have to eat money on his Kemp's contract to move him.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

He should go to an AL team so he can DH about 50% of the time, save some stress on his body

Richard40
Richard40

Kemp is a great talent, but seems to be hurt all the time.   If you trade for him, don't give any top prospects or anyone that is key this year.   Buyer beware.

oasis1994
oasis1994

Sox fan here. I really don't want the Sox to get this guy unless the Dodgers are willing to pay a good chunk of his salary. Shoulder surgery scares me and a lot of players never fully come back from it with the power they once had.


He would fit in with the Sox, but I don't think giving up a lot for him at this point with that contract is smart.

aadaddy
aadaddy

@The_Sports_Dude I don't think (or at least haven't read) anyone is saying it's body wear. I think the injury that gives everyone pause is the shoulder. Modern medicine has worked wonders on the elbows and knees but the shoulder is a beast of a joint and few players come back the same once their shoulders take a beating. I am rooting for Kemp but as a huge Scott Rolen fan, that shoulder worries the hell out of me...

jdane
jdane

@oasis1994 Agreed--if all goes well, he might put up numbers comparable to what Nava put up last year at a mere 20x the cost.

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

I agree that the shoulder is definitely a concern moving forward and could very well prevent him from being the 40-40/5-tool player he once was.  My comment was mainly in response to Kemp being oft-injured.  Before his first shoulder injury, he led active players in consecutive games played.  He's coming off two injury-plagued years, but his injuries are different from degenerative conditions that become chronic issues like Josh Hamilton's back.  While Kemp may never put up another .324/.399/.586 line, it's not beyond reason to expect .310/.370/.500 if he's healthy.