Leading up to the winter meetings, it became evident that the Los Angeles Dodgers were shopping center fielder Matt Kemp, or were at least willing to take calls.
As detailed in isportsweb’s general manager series with the Red Sox, should the Dodgers trade Kemp, it would likely be in exchange for a collection of prospects.
While trading Kemp at any point is a risky proposition since it would leave Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig as the team’s primary outfielders, trading him now would be a grave mistake.
Given that Kemp missed significant time in 2012 and 2013 due to injuries, he is widely considered damaged goods.
After hitting 39 home runs in 2011, Kemp combined for only 29 home runs in 2012 and 2013.
Not only would the Dodgers not receive the best deal available, they would likely be pressed into paying a larger portion of Kemp’s remaining salary than desired. Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six seasons.
Further complicating matters are future transactions the Dodgers may be interested in. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price is believed to be available if the Rays’ asking price is met.
The Dodgers have also expressed interest in Masahiro Tanaka of the Japan league Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Acquiring one of the pitchers, or both, would be costly for the Dodgers.
The Rays are said to want top-level prospects in exchange for Price, and the Dodgers would not only need to pay the posting fee to negotiate with Tanaka, they would then need to sign him to a contract.
Trade rumors took another twist on Wednesday when Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart said Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti informed him that his client would not be traded.
Colletti later passed on the opportunity to confirm that was what he told Stewart. Instead he said, “It was a private conversation.”
Kemp appears to be a key factor for the Dodgers’ plans moving forward. Whether it is as a contributor or a valuable trade piece remains to be seen.