Matt Kemp Rumors
In an Insider post (subscription required), Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio names eight players who could be traded during the Winter Meetings. The Rays' David Price tops the list with Bowden's possible destinations starting with the Dodgers. The Dodgers also have two of their own on the list: outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Here's more on the Boys in Blue and the rest of the NL West:
- Re-signing Juan Uribe figures to be at or near the top of the Dodgers' to-do list at the Winter Meetings, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Uribe is not seeking a three-year contract and the holdup with the Dodgers is either their desire for a one-year deal or money, tweets ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted confirmation of an earlier report the Rockies are interested in Raul Ibanez, but cautioned nothing is serious at this point. Renck also noted Michael Young is on the club's radar for a bench role.
- The Rockies are also becoming more serious about Michael Morse along with the Giants, Marlins, and Rangers, reports the New York Post's Joel Sherman (Twitter links).
- There's been speculation the Giants could be a fit for Ichiro Suzuki, but Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets he doesn't believe that's the case.
- The demands of the trade market will determine what course Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers takes during the Winter Meetings, reports azcentral.com's Nick Piecoro. "Most people are asking for quite a bit right now, I'm not real excited about what I'd have to give up in the trade market," Towers said. "I'm hoping maybe the price starts to come down. If not, then I'll turn to more free agents."
- Left-hander Erick Threets is looking to play in Asia, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League pitching to a 7.04 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 7.5 BB/9 in 23 innings covering 27 relief outings. Threets' last MLB affiliation was with the Dodgers' Triple-A team 2012 and his last appearance in a big league game was in 2010 for the White Sox.
While the Yankees have already netted several of the offseason's top players, inking Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Hiroki Kuroda for a combined $299MM, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes that the Bombers will again field a roster with age and injury concerns. Beltran, for example, will be paid $45MM for his age 37-39 seasons despite missing significant time in the past with knee problems. "They will just repeat the cycle,” one rival executive speaking with Rosenthal commented. “No young players ready, need to win now, blow everyone out of the water (financially) and hope in three years they have young talent.” Let's take a look at the rest of Rosenthal's excellent column:
- Though the Red Sox have responded to the Yankees' spending spree with smaller deals for players such as Edward Mujica and Mike Napoli, Rosenthal writes that Boston holds a major advantage over the Yanks in scouting and player development, as the Ellsbury signing shows. While the Sox are unlikely to target Shin-Soo Choo, GM Ben Cherington may also have a surprise in the works, as Boston has considered trading for Matt Kemp and could also deal one of its starters.
- Choo may receive a deal that's nearly as large as Ellsbury’s $153MM pact, some executives believe. The Rangers, Mariners, Tigers and Reds appear to be likely landing spots, though some officials tell Rosenthal that the Giants and Astros could also get involved.
- Clubs that fail to land Choo will shift their attention to Nelson Cruz, who could also draw interest from the Orioles and Royals.
- The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Mariners appear to be best-positioned among clubs looking to acquire David Price from the Rays. The Mariners in particular are expected to try and surround new acquisition Robinson Cano with impact talent in the early phase of his 10-year deal, when he'll be the most productive. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are indicating they're shifting their focus to player development, and are unlikely to offer up elite prospects like Corey Seager. While the Cardinals have the prospects to get Price, they've yet to indicate major interest in doing so.
- To trade Kemp now would be selling low on the outfielder, who missed significant time in 2013 with injuries. However, if the Dodgers are willing to absorb some salary, Kemp will look attractive in comparison with 2015's weak class of free agent outfielders.
- Some baseball sources tell Rosenthal that they think Rakuten Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana might follow through on a threat to not post Masahiro Tanaka. Tachibana is considered "something of a maverick" by MLB execs, and Tanaka's value is set to plummet for Rakuten under a posting system in which the maximum fee is $20MM, Rosenthal says.
Matt Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, has never attended the Winter Meetings, but he will this winter as he has a "strong feeling" that his client could get moved, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. "This is the first time we've experienced this," Stewart said. "This is the first time we've heard it this much, and the first time we really believe something could happen." The Dodgers, of course, have a surplus of outfielders and Kemp is drawing interest from mutliple clubs. More from the NL West..
- The Diamondbacks still want a corner outfielder after missing out on Carlos Beltran and have their sights set on the Angels' Mark Trumbo, among others, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The D'Backs have plenty of pitching depth to get a power outfield bat with the likes of Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, and Wade Miley (link).
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has made a few different offers to free agent third baseman Juan Uribe but hasn't had much dialogue lately because they're waiting for his answer, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Meanwhile, Colletti says that he won't "sell off an outfielder" just for the sake of doing it, especially with the list of free agent outfielders over the next couple of winters being a little underwhelming, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Free agent outfielder Michael Morse is still on the Giants' radar, but the club believes its best route to landing a left fielder is via trade, tweets Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. While GM Brian Sabean is actively trying to lower expectations for a trade to take place, Schulman hears he has been active on the phones (link). Even though Sabean isn't the type to make a trade just for the heck of it, Schulman wouldn't be surprised to see a deal take place at the meetings (link).
Dave Stewart, Matt Kemp's agent, has a "strong feeling something could happen" involving his client at the Winter Meetings, the former pitcher tells ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. "This is the first time we've experienced this," Stewart said. "This is the first time we've heard it this much, and the first time we really believe something could happen." The Dodgers have been listening to offers for Kemp, and the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox have all been linked to the outfielder, plus other teams.
Here's the latest from around the NL West...
- The Rockies are still looking for bullpen help and have maintained their interest in Jose Veras and Jesse Crain, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). The club's interest in Crain, of course, hinges on whether he is healthy following the shoulder injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season.
- The Rockies had interest in Corey Hart and Mike Morse but both players profiled better as first basemen, Renck notes, a position that Colorado has since addressed by signing Justin Morneau. The Rockies have a hole in left field, with Carlos Gonzalez shifting to center and Michael Cuddyer remaining in right.
- The Padres had some interest in David Murphy and Nate McLouth, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. With Murphy and McLouth respectively signed by the Indians and Nationals, however, San Diego's search for a left-handed hitting outfielder may have ended with their trade for Seth Smith.
- Ichiro Suzuki seems relegated to the bench in New York, so John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) thinks the Giants should try to acquire the veteran address their outfield depth. Shea notes that Suzuki and Giants manager Bruce Bochy share an agent, plus Suzuki could be cheaply acquired from the Yankees. San Francisco had some interest in Ichiro when he was a free agent last winter.
Tonight's look at the AL West..
- The Mariners have been among the most aggressive suitors for Matt Kemp, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but they are looking at free agents too.
- The Rangers met with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but the odds that Texas will land him are still long, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas News. One source says that the Rangers are one of four clubs actively engaged in talks with Choo.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, that he'll likely have "another deal or two" done with regards to pitching by this time next week.
- Luhnow also said that it would make sense to evaluate Dexter Fowler as a leadoff hitter, but it would be up to Bo Porter and the staff to decide that, tweets Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle.
As the Red Sox survey their options for alternatives to free agent Jacoby Ellsbury, an interesting name has popped up on their radar. The Red Sox are one of several teams who have made inquiries on Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, a major league source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
After the Red Sox unloaded some of their biggest salaries on the Dodgers more than a year ago, Boston could be in store for a role reversal if they hammer out a deal for Kemp. The star outfielder is still owed about $130MM over the next six years, but the Dodgers would likely eat a good portion of the contract in order to get some talent in return.
Kemp, 29, was limited to just 73 games in 2013 and played in only 106 games in 2012, but he was quite durable prior ro that stretch. Of course, his best season came in 2011 when he hit .324/.399/.586 with 39 homers and was edged out for NL MVP by Ryan Braun. The source tells Cafardo that although the Dodgers haven't been shopping Kemp, they have gotten inquiries. Kemp seems to be getting more interest than fellow Dodger outfielders Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford.
The Giants and Javier Lopez have finalized a three-year, $13MM contract, pending a physical, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the exam may not take place until next week. Here's more out of the NL West...
- Matt Kemp doesn't want to be traded, but he's accepted the fact that it's a possibility and rumors of potential deals aren't going away, agent Dave Stewart tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners have been linked to Kemp, and Rosenthal adds that the Rangers spoke with the Dodgers at the GM Meetings as well, though they consider Kemp's contract too prohibitive. Kemp's preference, should he be traded, is too end up with a winning team, but Stewart made it clear that Kemp's desire is to spend his career in Dodger blue.
- Even though they have a deal in place for veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to be their closer, the Rockies say the job of rebuilding their bullpen is not complete, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "We don't look at it like our bullpen is closed," assistant GM Bill Geivett said. "It's only Nov. 19, and we've just made one move, so we are still looking for ways to improve our club." Joe Smith and Edward Mujica are among the options available, but they'll likely be seeking three-year comittments.
- A left-handed hitter remains the Padres' priority, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com. A starting pitching upgrade wasn't at the top of the Pads' list this offseason, but Josh Johnson was a clear upgrade at the top of the rotation.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Josh Johnson reached out to the Giants and Padres to let them know they were his first choices for a new team, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (all Twitter links). Both teams play close to Johnson's home in Las Vegas and also have pitcher-friendly ballparks that are ideal for a hurler looking to rebuild his value on a one-year contract. Schulman isn't sure if the Giants made Johnson an offer, though Johnson's chances of joining the club have likely dimmed now that San Francisco has signed Tim Hudson. Starting pitching isn't an offseason priority for the Padres, though a healthy and in-form Johnson projects as the ace of San Diego's rotation.
Here are some more items from around the NL West...
- The Rockies' one-year, $2.5MM agreement with LaTroy Hawkins "blew away" the Mets' offer to the veteran reliever, a source tells Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Colorado also outbid the Braves, who didn't need Hawkins in either a closing or setup role, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
- Now that the Rockies have signed Hawkins, Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Sulia link) opines that the club needs to pursue the likes of Edward Mujica, Joe Smith or Jose Veras to further upgrade their shaky bullpen. Renck also looks at how the Hawkins signing impacts Rex Brothers' role as Colorado's "closer of the future."
- Also from Renck (Sulia link), the Rockies and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa haven't begun talks on a contract extension. De La Rosa's current deal is up after the 2014 season and Renck reported last month that both sides have interest in continuing their relationship. The southpaw also tells Renck that he is recovered from the thumb injury that bothered him down the stretch last season.
- The Dodgers have received "moderate to moderate-plus" trade interest in Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, an official tells Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. We heard last week that the Dodgers were open to offers for Kemp, Ethier or Carl Crawford in order to free up payroll space and a spot in the outfield. Brown's piece outlines the Dodgers' offseason priorities, beginning with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw.
- Juan Uribe is looking for a three-year contract, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The Dodgers are interested in bringing Uribe back but not at that length, which Heyman admits is "probably a stretch." Indeed, Tim Dierkes said that Uribe would be weighing one- or two-year offers in MLBTR's free agent profile of the third baseman.
- The Dodgers would be better off trading to upgrade their rotation than signing a free agent hurler, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon opines. "With the exception of [Masahiro] Tanaka, it’s an exceptionally flawed market for free agent starting pitchers and it seems like the Dodgers are more than aware of that. Much as they’d like to improve their rotation, they might be better served to sit this one out," Saxon writes.
- In other NL West news from earlier today, we collected some more Giants news items and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported that the Dodgers signed Brendan Harris to a minor league deal.
The Rangers and Dodgers discussed trades during the GM Meetings, looking to fill the other team's respective needs in the outfield and infield, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Dodgers had interest in shortstop Elvis Andrus while the Rangers had interest in Matt Kemp, though they were concerned about the $128MM owed to Kemp through 2019 and his recent injury problems. Talks between the two sides didn't go anywhere, Rosenthal said.
Here's some more news from the Lone Star State...
- Rosenthal expects the Rangers to be "linked to virtually every power bat in free agency and trades" (Twitter link). This includes such names as Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mike Napoli.
- Speaking of Napoli, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that some executives think the Rangers will be the Red Sox biggest rivals for the first baseman this offseason. Scouts were impressed by how well Napoli handled first base and Texas is known to be looking for first base help. Napoli has drawn interest from several teams and while there's mutual interest in a return to Boston, the Sox have reportedly only made him a one-year offer.
- Shin-Soo Choo could be on the decline and will cost too much for the Rangers to pursue in free agency, ESPN Dallas' Todd Wills opines. McCann is a better fit for Texas' needs, Wills argues.
- Ray Davis was unanimously approved as the Rangers' control person by MLB owners today, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett reports. Davis, the club's co-chairman, will represent the Rangers at ownership meetings and he told media (including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) that GM Jon Daniels would report directly to either Davis or co-owner Bob Simpson.
- From earlier today, the Rangers avoided arbitration with Adam Rosales by signing him to a one-year, $750K contract.
The Mariners have expressed interest in Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). It was reported last week that the Dodgers are open to moving Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford this winter.
Kemp, 29, nearly won the National League MVP in 2011 and was selected to the All-Star team in 2012 but hit only .270/.328/.395 in 290 PA for the Dodgers in 2013. The outfielder still has plenty of trade value, but he is owed $128MM through the 2019 season and Los Angeles may have to foot some of the bill if they move him. Health has been an issue for Kemp in recent years - he played 106 games in 2012 and just 73 last season. Of course, the Dodgers can afford to move one of their outfielders thanks to last year's emergence of Yasiel Puig.