The Los Angeles Dodgers are drawing significant trade interest in outfielder Matt Kemp, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Originally, the report was that the Dodgers would much rather keep Kemp over Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. However, the 30-year-old Kemp may be the most likely to be dealt away.
Kemp has five-years, $107-million remaining on his contract, which extends through 2019. Dealing him would allow them to acquire someone who is a current free-agent, possibly a middle reliever or a set-up-man. Crawford is owed $65 million over three years and Ethier is owed $56 million over three years.
Joc Pederson is the name everyone is talking about, or at least the name that Minor League Baseball fans are talking about. He has sat in the minors for five years waiting for his moment to shine, but he can not and will not get that chance unless two big league outfielders are dealt.
This past season, he played for Triple-A Albuquerque. The 22-year-old slashed .303/.435/.582. Yes, he really did slug .582. The youngster also added 33 home runs and 78 RBI’s over just 121 games in the minors that season. Just to add onto his impressive statistics, he stole 30 bases.
He has made 838 putouts and has only made 21 errors in the outfield. That is a .977 fielding percentage. Now, that is not like Kemp’s fielding percentage, .983 over nine seasons. However, Pederson will continue to develop and learn to get a jump on the baseball as it is hit. This will eventually allow him to possibly become a better fielder than Kemp. If Pederson comes up, he will probably play center and Yasiel Puig would take right-field. Kemp, Crawford or Eithier would have to man left-field.
The downside to Pederson is that he did not look ready when he came up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in September. He hit .143 with no-extra-base hits in 38 plate appearances, but it is a small sample size.
Kemp has been with the Dodgers for nine-years, his entire MLB career. In 150 games, he slashed .287/.346/.506, while adding 25 long balls and 89 RBI’s. It seemed to be a down season, until he picked up the pace at the end of the regular season.
It seems as if the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles may get involved in the Kemp sweepstakes. Right now, the Orioles and Marines need right-handed power, which there is not much of in free agency. The Blue Jays have contacted the outfielder in the past and may be interested if they do not acquire Torii Hunter or Melky Cabrera.