One of the hottest rumors floating around in Major League Baseball involves the Los Angeles Dodgers moving Matt Kemp. Of course Kemp and agent, Dave Stewart have done little favors to anyone to amplify those rumors.
The attitude of Matt Kemp has reared its ugly head often this season with his requests of wanting to play in center field and “embracing” trade scenarios. No matter Dave Stewart, or Matt Kemp make claims of unhappiness in Los Angeles to further fuel rumors of his departure, Matt Kemp will remain a Dodger.
Matt Kemp has been above average over the last month of what has been just simply a mediocre season thus far for him. Ankle and shoulder injuries have derailed the 2011 NL MVP runner up’s superstar status. Every now and then signs of the great Matt Kemp will arrive but mostly Kemp is simply not the same player as he once was. With his desired position of choice (center field) currently owned and out of reach to take back from Yasiel Puig, Kemp lies in competition with Andre Either, Carl Crawford, and sometimes Scott Van Slyke for playing time.
So why not trade Kemp?
Well Matt Kemp can still be a productive player. Although not nearly the power threat he once was, Kemp has made modifications to his game and has a high enough baseball IQ to be more than effective on an everyday basis to contribute in the long-run. Contribute on a higher level than most, at that.
Furthermore, the Los Angeles Dodgers in most negotiations for a back-end starter require them to eat half to 75% of his 4 yr, over $100 million remaining salary on his contract. Despite Matt Kemp often staggering to get through nagging injuries, Ned Coletti potentially would put the Dodgers in a bad position by dealing AND paying Kemp to go away. At only 29, Matt Kemp is athletically gifted enough to turn it on and get hot enough to lead a team on a run. And, for the Dodgers to front the bill for Kemp to do so simply is not in good interest for the franchise.
What’s worse is that most rumored deals for Matt Kemp “on the block” to teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox include prize minor league prospects Joc Pederson, Julio Urias, and Corey Seager. All these prospects of which Ned Coletti has absolutely no interest in dealing or packaging for potential rental pitchers who will bolt for free agency in the winter. Thus, compromising what is panning out as a promising minor league system the Dodgers are laying the foundation for.
From the looks of things, Carl Crawford is locked in to be traded. Albeit not having a good season and oft-injured, the Dodgers can make good on a package that includes ONE top prospect likely as well as take on a bulk of Crawford’s contract. The Dodgers then can include coveted OF Joc Pederson in the rotation likely in left field since Kemp has grown to like his spot in right field.
The Dodgers have faced this dilemma in the out field all season. With injuries and lack of production plaguing Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, it simply has been an uphill battle unloading anyone for a sense of normalcy. Adding the large salaries each player owns makes things even tougher on Coletti and the Dodgers.
Make no mistake, Matt Kemp is THE last to be sacrificed in the outfield. Just as was the case last year, there’s a hope that Crawford or Ethier’s streaky hitting grows hot to increase their trade value.
The Dodgers have not forgotten the talent Kemp possesses, and have no intention on paying for ‘Beast Mode’ to engage for another team.