The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder is overcrowded; however, Matt Kemp may have volunteered to be the odd man out. Short of openly demanding a trade, Kemp and his agent, Dave Stewart, have both made comments suggesting the two-time All-Star would prefer a situation that can only happen away from Chavez Ravine.
Matt Kemp not asking for trade, but acknowledges it’s a possibility. Emphasized he has no control over the situation. — Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) July 19, 2014
“I want to be in a situation where I play every day,” [Kemp] said Friday. “If it’s with the Dodgers, if it’s with someone else, that’s not my decision.
Stewart made his remarks to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
Though his comments may have been overstated by the media, Kemp has made clear his intentions to be an everyday center fielder in Major League Baseball. With Yasiel Puig in right, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke in center, and Carl Crawford finally healthy, Don Mattingly has had Kemp planted in left since May 22.
“Whatever they want to do we’re favorable to, as long as it gives him an opportunity to play every day,” Stewart said. “He’d like to eventually go back to center field. He’s not opposed to right or left. But his hope at some point is to get back to center.”
Though Mattingly appears interested in shuffling the deck, it’s not the change Kemp is looking for. According to MLB.com’s Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick, Mattingly liked how Kemp looked at the other corner spot in the team’s 5-2 win over Pittsburgh on Monday:
Mattingly said Kemp looked so comfortable in RF that he’s thinking about Puig in CF. — Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) July 22, 2014
It was his first start in right field in five years.
Given his disappointing production–.267 average with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 90 games–there’s no guarantee Kemp will even stay on the field. Until now his discontent had gone unanswered by Mattingly and the Dodgers front office. Though Kemp has raised his average from .205 at the beginning of May, the $107 million remaining on a contract that runs through 2019 may have finally changed the team’s stance, according to ESPNNewYork.com contributor Danny Knobler:
Any team interested in acquiring Kemp will expect the Dodgers to eat an unhealthy portion of his albatross contract, especially with the Dodgers possibly pivoting strategies to develop more of a farm system, according to Sam Miller on the July 21 edition of The Jonah Keri podcast.
That seems to be the problem, though, as no suitors have come to the surface. Two teams who showed interest in acquiring Kemp in the offseason remain silent: The New York Yankees just acquired third baseman Chase Headley from San Diego while the Seattle Mariners have yet to be re-linked.
With over $370 million still owed to the outfield, you have to assume that Ned Colleti will examine all of his options to unload at least one of those bloated contracts.