Matt Kemp Rumors

NL West Notes: Kemp, Papelbon, Geivett, Padres

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp doesn’t necessarily want to be traded, but he would welcome a deal that would allow him to man center field on an everyday basis with a new team, agent Dave Stewart told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports yesterday. Rosenthal notes, however, that GM Ned Colletti is a bit hesitant to part with Kemp’s right-handed bat, as that would leave the team with just one surefire right-handed power threat in the everyday lineup in 2015: Yasiel Puig. (Hanley Ramirez, of course, is a free agent at season’s end.) Another major roadblock is the roughly $107MM remaining on Kemp’s contract through the 2019 season.

Here’s more on the Dodgers and the rest of the NL West…

  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles now debunks one of his own reports, tweeting that he’s been told the Dodgers are not interested in Jonathan Papelbon. Yesterday, a baseball source told Saxon he expected the club to pursue the Philadelphia closer.
  • Rockies owner Dick Monfort appeared on 850 KOA-AM radio with Dave Logan and Susie Wargin, and MLB.com’s Thomas Harding provides some highlights from the discussion. Most notably, after Monfort defended GM Dan O’Dowd by saying he judged O’Dowd’s success on more than just the club’s win-loss record, he was asked who should take the blame for the record: “You would have to say it’s [Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations and assistant GM] Bill Geivett,” said Monfort. “He’s responsible for the Major League team. Now, the talent that gets into the Major League team, [that] is the responsibility of scouting and development.” Monfort declined to comment when asked if all of the club’s decision-makers would return next season, but he did say he “stand[s] by the job that everybody does.”
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune’s staff runs down the list of each Padres GM candidate and explains the reasons that they have a chance at the job as well as the reason that each could lose out to another candidate. Since the publishing of that article, four candidates have already been eliminated, and the finalists now are Red Sox AGM Mike Hazen, Rangers AGM A.J. Preller, Yankees AGM Billy Eppler and MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng.
  • Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Kevin Towers could join the Padres front office as a senior advisor if he his dismissed from his post with the D’Backs. Padres CEO Mike Dee now tells Rosenthal (Twitter links): “Any new hires in the front office will be up to the new GM. Kevin Towers is not a candidate for that position. Thus, any speculation about Kevin rejoining the Padres is just that, speculation.” 

Red Sox Aren’t Targeting Matt Kemp

The Red Sox have been linked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp in the past and a recent report indicated that Boston was spending “significant time” watching him.  However, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI that there’s nothing brewing between the two sides regarding the two-time All-Star.

General Manager Ben Cherington & Co. continue to explore options to improve their outfield’s offensive production but the source insists that there’s no momentum towards a deal for Kemp.  For his part, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the 29-year-old isn’t going anywhere.

In 261 plate appearances this year, Kemp owns a slash line of .274/.333/.460.  That’s not quite the performance from his All-Star seasons in 2011 and ’12 (.315/.387/.567) but its an uptick from his injury filled 2013.  Kemp has also been on an absolute tear over the last ten games.

Fellow Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier was mentioned as a possibility for the BoSox in the spring but Bradford reported in late May that Boston wouldn’t be pursuing him either.


Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Zobrist, Price, Hanley, Dodgers, Martinez

In the video atop his latest Notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal states that he feels this will finally be the year that the Rays deal David Price, as they can receive max value for him by dealing their ace to a team that can use him for two playoff pushes. He also adds that he expects the Rays to move Ben Zobrist, even though his price tag is affordable, simply because the demand for Zobrist will be so high.

Here are some more highlights from his column…

  • Hanley Ramirez‘s poor glove is perhaps the main reason that he and the Dodgers have yet to agree to an extension, Rosenthal writes. He wonders how much that flaw will impact Ramirez’s value on the open market at a time when teams are placing a higher premium than ever before on defense. He adds that if Ramirez does stay in L.A. and shift to third base in the long-term on his next contract, the team may have to trade Juan Uribe and his $6.5MM 2015 salary.
  • Looking at other Dodgers issues, Rosenthal writes that many executives around the league expect that it will ultimately be Matt Kemp who is traded to clear the team’s outfield logjam, though it likely won’t happen until the offseason. He adds that the Dodgers are likely to be in the market for a starting pitcher after the news that Chad Billingsley is out for the season, as Josh Beckett and Dan Haren are tough to rely on down the stretch.
  • Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez completely revamped his swing mechanics this offseason before he was released by the Astros in Spring Training. He signed a minor league deal with Detroit two days later and found himself teammates with the man whose mechanics he spent the entire offseason studying — Miguel Cabrera. Martinez tells Rosenthal he watched video of Cabrera and Ryan Braun all winter and “re-invented” himself at the plate. It may not be sustainable, but the early results are positive; Martinez is hitting .300/.333/.570 with six homers in 108 PA with Detroit.

Dodgers Links: Crawford, Kemp, Payroll

The carousel of playing time in the Dodgers’ outfield may settle for the time being, as Carl Crawford is headed to the disabled list after rolling his ankle in last night’s win over the Reds. As MLB.com’s Earl Bloom wrote, manager Don Mattingly said the injury “didn’t look good,” though x-rays on Crawford’s ankle did at least come back negative. Here’s more on the team that trails the Giants by 4.5 games in the NL West…

  • Prior to last night’s Crawford injury, Bloom wrote that Matt Kemp would begin to see some time in left field, despite not having played there since he was a rookie in 2006. The Dodgers feel that Kemp, he of an eight-year, $160MM contract, is currently better suited for left, as he’s lost a step in breaking on fly balls and doesn’t run as strong of routes as Andre Ethier. Crawford’s injury, of course, simplifies the division of playing time for now, but conventional wisdom suggests that at some point, something has to give with the Dodgers’ four high-priced outfielders.
  • General manager Ned Colletti and president Stan Kasten spoke with Howard Bryant of ESPN about the club’s payroll. Colletti told Bryant that the Dodgers admittedly don’t plan to spend at their current $229MM level forever, but they felt the need to turn things around “overnight” and make up for a four-year span of disappointment as they fought irrelevancy. Kasten told Bryant, “I always say that smart beats rich. But it’s better to be smart and rich.” He went on to say that his club is trying to find a balance of the financial power we’ve seen from the Red Sox and Yankees over the past 15 years and combine it the intelligence consistently shown by the Athletics and Rays.

Quick Hits: Bailey, Dodgers, Kemp, Red Sox, Orioles

Let's round up some stray links from the day:

  • The possible extension of Homer Bailey by the Reds has been a hot topic lately, but talks could spill over into the regular season, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. If a deal cannot be reached, Bailey would be among the more attractive starters to hit the open market next year.
  • The Dodgers' glut of starting-caliber outfielders has long been mentioned as the possible basis for a trade, though we've heard little chatter of late. One of the team's biggest question marks is the health of one of its four highly-paid options: Matt Kemp. The 29-year-old bristled today at the notion that he could be a fourth outfielder, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times"I don't know where you get this fourth outfielder talk from," said Kemp. "… I think all four of us outfielders feel the same way. None of us are fourth outfielders. Everybody wants to play every day. I won't accept that role. I can't accept that role." 
  • Though the Dodgers' enviable cash position certainly has its benefits, it can create issues of its own, writes Rob Neyer of FOX Sports. When teams commit big dollars to players, says Neyer, they tend to keep trotting out those players even if their performance no longer warrants the playing time. But the game may now be flush enough with cash, suggests Neyer, that clubs will feel more comfortable with treating such deals as the sunk costs they are and cutting ties when necessary.
  • There are no active discussions involving Red Sox starters, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. With many quality free agents still yet to sign, says Speier, the expectation is that a trade market for Boston's arms will not develop until March (if it does so at all).
  • The Orioles opened camp with 29 pitchers, with three more yet to report, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that he is pleased with the depth and number of options at the club's disposal, particularly since Baltimore figures to be able to keep most of those players regardless of who makes the Opening Day roster. "We kept our flexibility with only two or three exceptions," said Showalter. "We don't have a lot of pitchers out of options, really. We'll be able to keep the depth. It''s obviously too early to handicap anything, but if it doesn't get separated by injury, it's going to be pretty competitive at the end."

Dodgers Notes: Kemp, Phillips, Gordon, Kasten

Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips have been two of the offseason's biggest names rumored to be on the trade market, and there was a chance the two could've been dealt for each other in a blockbuster.  The Dodgers and Reds "briefly spoke about" swapping the two All-Stars earlier this winter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but the Dodgers didn't have much interest.  L.A. wasn't keen on adding an older player (Phillips is 32) who is owed $50MM through 2017, plus the Dodgers felt the deal wouldn't have been a fair swap if Kemp returned to full health.

Here are some more items from Chavez Ravine…

  • There isn't any truth to rumors of a Dodgers/Royals trade that would sent Dee Gordon to Kansas City in exchange for Justin Maxwell, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports (via Twitter).
  • The Dodgers fully intend to rebuild their minor league depth, team president Stan Kasten said tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, and while they've moved some minor leaguers in trades, Kasten is pleased that "we kept adding pieces while keeping the guys we valued the most."  Speaking in general, Kasten said "what would have interested us — and might still — is to trade one of our veterans if we can get back young, controllable players and prospects."  In addition, while Kasten says the Dodgers don't plan to trade any of their key youngsters, "there are deals on the table that include top prospects."
  • The Dodgers could consider trading pitching prospects in order to obtain more position player prospects, Kasten said, as the club is lacking in youngsters who can play the field.
  • Earlier today on MLBTR, the Dodgers acquired righty Seth Rosin from the Mets, and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal shared a few items about the Dodgers in his most recent column.

Rosenthal On Gardner, Kemp, Drew, Mariners

Ken Rosenthal shares a few anecdotes from the Winter Meetings as well as some hot stove notes and opinions in his latest entry for FOX Sports…

  • It seems as if the Yankees will keep Brett Gardner since the team likes the idea of he and Jacoby Ellsbury combined in left and center field and hitting 1-2 atop the lineup.  That said, Rosenthal thinks that while the Yankees like Gardner, they won't re-sign him next offseason, as Gardner will look for a new team that can offer him a center field position and a leadoff spot.
  • Matt Kemp "seems to have ticked off someone in [Dodgers] upper management, though few seem to know who or why," Rosenthal writes.  This could be part of the reason behind the Kemp trade rumors, though Rosenthal feels the Dodgers will have to eventually deal Kemp if they're serious about restocking their farm system.  That deal might not happen until after 2014, however, as the Dodgers would be selling low on Kemp now and a rebound would both up his trade value and help the club on the field given Carl Crawford's health problems and Joc Pederson's inexperience.
  • The Dodgers are "disinclined" to sign Stephen Drew.  This could be another case of the Dodgers focusing on their minor league development, as signing Drew would block prospect Corey Seager, not to mention cost the Dodgers their first round pick in next year's amateur draft.
  • The Mariners are more likely to look internally to find closing help, rather than acquire a stopper as originally planned.
  • Rosenthal thinks the Mariners need to add another starting pitcher and another big bat, with Nelson Cruz seeming like a "must-have" given the uncertainty about Corey Hart's health.  The additions of Hart and Logan Morrison are seen by rival executives "as somewhat incoherent" given that both players share injury histories and are the same type of 1B/DH types, though the M's plan to try Hart in the outfield.
  • The Mets have received criticism from their fans for their low payrolls in recent years, but Rosenthal notes that the team's free agent expenditures are a sign that the Amazins are willing to spend.

West Notes: Morales, Kemp, Sandoval, Baker

News from the AL and NL West..

  • Agent Scott Boras says he'll talk to the Angels about signing Kendrys Morales, writes the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin. The Angels say they are not interested, however, because they need to rebuild a depleted minor league system and they would have to forfeit their first-round draft choice to sign Morales. "We're much more comfortable with the idea of maintaining our first-round pick and continuing to build the organization in a much more positive way," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.
  • In an interview on MLB Network (Twitter link), Dodgers GM Ned Colletti attemped to throw water on Matt Kemp trade rumors, saying that L.A. is higher on the outfielder than anyone.
  • Pablo Sandoval's brother, Michael, has recently been certified as an agent and will join his current agent, Gustavo Vazquez, in representing him, writes Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. If the Giants want to discuss an extension, Michael says that his team will listen. Yesterday, GM Brian Sabean indicated that they'd be open to a new deal if he comes to spring training in shape.
  • The Giants say they haven't talked to Jeff Baker's agent in a little over a week, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
  • Giants vice president Bobby Evans tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter) that the club would like to sign a left fielder tonight. Baggarly hears that they like Franklin Gutierrez.
  • Rockies manager Walt Weiss says that they have talked to Carlos Gonzalez about possibly playing center field and they think he might be able to manage it, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Sulia).

Central Notes: Cubs, Hernandez, Tigers, Hart

The latest out of the AL and NL Central..

  • The Cubs are among the teams with interest in Roberto Hernandez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says that he'll look for a true first baseman to replace Corey Hart, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter). "I'd like to find a first baseman who can play first. We've had so many guys who haven't played first," said the GM.
  • The Brewers topped out around $8MM for Hart, according to Haudricourt (on Twitter).
  • Cubs president Theo Epstein says the club has offers out to a free agent starter, a free agent offer, and a trade offer for a hitter, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Theo added that he has other trade talks taking place as well.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he's never had a conversation with the Dodgers about Matt Kemp, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com.  
  • Dombrowski also noted that the Tigers haven't ruled out signing Max Scherzer this offseason, tweets John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
  • After initially being caught off guard by the trade, Adam Eaton says he's confident and ready for a fresh start with the White Sox, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.