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Matt Kemp Rumors
Now that the Winter Meetings have come to a close, the Padres are once again the only team dominating the headlines in San Diego. Here’s the latest from the Friars…
- Bud Black told reporters (including MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom) that he hasn’t spoken to A.J. Preller about a contract extension, but the manager isn’t worried about heading into the last year of his current deal. “I’m comfortable with this. I’m comfortable managing,” Black said. “I think those of us in this game realize at certain points contracts will be worked out if they’re going to get worked out. I think we’ve seen over the years a lot of managers go into the last year, head coaches go into the last year of a contract and everything is fine.”
- The Padres’ next step towards improving their lineup is to acquire a corner infield bat, MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. The Padres talked to several other teams about potential 1B/3B targets, so Brock figures San Diego will probably go the trade route to find its corner infielder.
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron isn’t a fan of the Padres’ trade for Matt Kemp, arguing that it was an overly risky move for the team given Kemp’s large salary and limited defensive value. Cameron sees some similarities between this deal and the Angels’ ill-fated 2011 trade with the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells.
- From earlier today, the Padres didn’t reach an agreement with Korean lefty Kwang-Hyun Kim by the 4pm CT deadline.
Before dealing Matt Kemp to one division rival, they were in deep talks with another about a deal, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The Diamondbacks rejected L.A.’s request for center fielder A.J. Pollock but was willing to ship top pitching prospect Archie Bradley to add Kemp. Of course, we do not know the details of those discussions, including especially the amount of Kemp’s salary that would have been covered.
Here’s the latest from the National League West:
- The Padres are unlikely as things stand to reach agreement with Kwang-hyun Kim before today’s deadline, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. With a 2pm PST expiration, we could learn more on that situation soon.
- The Giants intend to add a starter sooner rather than later and do not intend to participate in a drawn-out bidding process, AGM Bobby Evans told reporters including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
- In addition to checking in with Asdrubal Cabrera, the Giants have inquired with Jed Lowrie about his interest in spending time at second or third, also per Evans. (Via Shea, on Twitter.) Lowrie apparently indicated that would be a possibility. The team could theoretically add a player at second and move Joe Panik to third, Evans also told the scribes, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers will be open to moving shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena after the Jimmy Rollins deal is finalized, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The 24-year-old is owed $16MM over the next four years.
The Padres are nearing a trade that would land them Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. The two teams are “exchanging final information” before completing the deal, Heyman says. Friedman said in this evening’s press conference that it was “definitely possible” a trade involving an outfielder could happen soon, via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register on Twitter.
The Dodgers have asked for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin, although it’s unclear if that’s what they’ve actually received. Friedman said (via the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin on Twitter) that the team was still looking for a catcher to join A.J. Ellis, so Grandal would make sense as a trade acquisition. A deal would help clear a logjam in the Dodgers’ outfield, which also includes Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke.
Meanwhile, Kemp would give the Padres a big offensive boost. As Heyman notes, the Padres tried to sign Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas this offseason, and Kemp provides them with a backup plan. The outfielder is owed $107MM over the next five seasons.
If the deal is completed tonight, it would cap a wild day for the Dodgers that also included a seven-player deal that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins, a trade for Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, a not-yet-official trade for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and a rumored four-year pact with Brandon McCarthy.
There has been much speculation about Dan Haren‘s role in the impending six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins, as Haren has openly said that he’d rather retire than pitch anywhere but for one of the two Los Angeles teams. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto shot down speculation that the Marlins could flip Haren to his team, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that his team wasn’t trading for Haren.
As we wait for either of today’s two blockbuster Dodgers trades to be finalized, here’s some more news from Chavez Ravine…
- There are rumors around the Winter Meetings that the Dodgers are making these big moves to position themselves to sign James Shields, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports (Twitter link).
- The rumored Andre Ethier-for-Miguel Montero swap with the Diamondbacks fell apart because of how much money the Dodgers would have had to pay, Saxon reports (via Twitter). Arizona ended up dealing Montero to the Cubs yesterday.
- Also from Saxon, the Dodgers haven’t made any inquiries about Ervin Santana.
- The Dodgers have been talking to other free agent pitchers, however, including Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
- Rumors of a Matt Kemp deal to the Padres “has legs,” a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two sides have made some progress but nothing is official yet. Yasmani Grandal would be the main piece coming back from San Diego and Heyman hears the Dodgers have also asked for pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin (though Heyman isn’t sure if both would be included if the deal happened.)
TODAY, 3:27pm: The Mariners and Rangers are also out on Kemp, Heyman tweets.
2:20pm: The Orioles are out on Kemp, sources tell Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore had concerns with Kemp’s long-term health and talks went nowhere after the Dodgers asked about young pitchers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
12:05pm: The sides are still working hard on a deal and have made progress, tweets Rosenthal. Los Angeles is looking for another quality piece in addition to Grandal, with strong pitching prospect Matt Wisler being a “possibility,” per Rosenthal.
YESTERDAY, 10:53am: The talks have run “hot and cold,” a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. San Diego does have focused interest in Kemp, though Justin Upton could be an option as well. (Twitter links.)
10:27am: The Padres are the team that is most likely to land Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp via trade, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Recent reports had tied the two clubs in talks.
San Diego’s current offer includes Yasmani Grandal and another player, reflecting the prior reporting of FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the backstop was in play. The talented 26-year-old would provide a platoon option with upside for the Dodgers.
Of course, with the Padres in the lead it still remains an open question just how likely Los Angeles is to move its star and, if so, how much money it is willing to eat on his contract. His market is complicated by the fact that several other right-handed power bats are available.
The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..
- There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
- Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).
With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.
Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
- The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.“
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
- In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
- Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
- Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.“
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With the focus of the baseball world on San Diego this week for the Winter Meetings, here’s the latest on the city’s team:
- The Padres have discussed a trade with the Red Sox involving Ian Kennedy and Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Boston, however, feels Cespedes can bring back a pitcher better than Kennedy.
- Rosenthal also tweets the Padres could match up with Texas to fill their hole at shortstop since the Rangers have a surplus at the position and San Diego GM A.J. Preller knows their system very well.
- The ultimate prize this offseason for the Padres could be Matt Kemp or Justin Upton, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin. While each player comes with substantial risk (Kemp’s contract and Upton being only a year away from free agency), Lin believes the risk is offset by the Padres’ need to land an impact bat to shore up an offense lacking corner infielders and a shortstop.
- The interest between the Padres and free agent catcher David Ross is mutual, Lin tweets. The Padres, meanwhile, seem intent on moving a catcher. Ross has been connected to the Cubs and Braves, as well as the Padres.
- If the Padres swing a trade with the Dodgers, Lin (via Twitter) wonders if left-hander Alex Torres could be involved. Torres has history with both Andrew Friedman and Josh Byrnes.
Here’s the latest from Chavez Ravine…
- The Dodgers were allegedly planning to have a fairly quiet offseason, though given their involvement in several high-profile rumors, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman wonders if the club has changed its tune after seeing their rivals in San Francisco win yet another World Series. The Dodgers have spent so much time exploring a Matt Kemp trade, for instance, that some feel their efforts have gone beyond due diligence and they’re seriously thinking of moving the outfielder.
- Andrew Friedman doesn’t mind “noise” about his team’s intentions, and Heyman suggests that the lack of certainty about the Dodgers’ winter plans could be of some use to the team. For instance, one rival executive thinks the Dodgers’ reported interest in Jon Lester could be a ploy to drive the left-hander’s price up and potentially keep him away from the Giants. Another rival exec says Lester “really isn’t an L.A. guy” and wouldn’t be prone to sign with a team only due to the money.
- A source tells Heyman that the Dodgers offered Russell Martin a four-year, $74MM contract. Though it fell short of the five-year, $82MM deal that Martin received from Toronto, Los Angeles’ offer is the second-largest bid known to have been made for the catcher, topping the Cubs’ reported $70MM offer.
- Trading Kemp doesn’t make sense for a Dodgers team that’s trying to win now, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times argues. Another club isn’t likely to surrender an elite prospect for a player with Kemp’s contract and injury history, so Dilbeck feels the Dodgers are better off keeping their valuable power bat.
New Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is leaning toward undergoing neck surgery to repair a bulging disc, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The possibility of the surgery, which could come with a recovery time as long as 12 weeks, was known to the Braves before signing him, Rosenthal adds. The neck issue is believed by some to be one of the reasons that the Orioles were reluctant to go beyond three years for Markakis. Even with a 12-week recovery, Markakis would seemingly be ready to go for most of Spring Training. The Braves are confident that he’ll be ready for Opening Day, per Rosenthal.
Here are some more notes from around the Senior Circuit…
- An executive from a team with interest in trading for Matt Kemp tells ESPN’s Jayson Stark that he’s still unconvinced that the Dodgers will actually move Kemp (Twitter link). Stark’s source feels that Andre Ethier is “still the guy they want to move.” Earlier today, it was reported that Ethier has communicated to the Dodgers that he prefers to be a starter next season, even if it means with another club. Ethier took his loss of playing time in stride this past season and has drawn praise for handling it quite well.
- The Cubs are still looking for help behind the plate, president Theo Epstein told reporters, including ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers. On the one hand, Epstein praised incumbent Welington Castillo, noting that he does a “nice job” of many things and has a promising future. In particular, Epstein praised Castillo’s throwing and blocking, though he noted that framing and receiving are areas to improve. He also added that, “…catching is one of the few areas on the field where we can add some veteran leadership — in the near term, anyway — and not block a potential impact player.” The allusion to veteran leadership could imply a backup catcher, though Rogers also speculates on adding someone like Miguel Montero to platoon with Castillo and receive the lion’s share of playing time.
- In an excellent analysis for GammonsDaily.com, David Golebiewski examines whether or not trade candidates Evan Gattis (Braves) and Wilin Rosario (Rockies) should remain behind the plate or only be of interest to teams who can move them off the position. Golebiewski notes that Gattis is a perhaps surprisingly competent pitch-framer, though he struggles to block balls in the dirt and is below-average at catching base stealers. Rosario, on the other hand, averages -12 runs in pitch-framing and -5 runs in blocking per season. Golebiewski feels that Gattis can follow a career path similar to Mike Napoli, providing a few solid seasons behind the plate before his large 6’4″, 260-pound frame causes him to move for another pitcher. Regarding Rosario, he offers a much bleaker take: “No matter where he suits up in 2015, it’s time to hide his mask and chest plate.”