Matt Kemp Rumors
Now that Frank McCourt has agreed to sell the Dodgers, expect a winter of speculation about who might take over the club. Here's the latest on the ownership front and a few other items...
- Matt Kemp spoke to reporters (including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick) during a conference call about such topics as the McCourt sale, trying to recruit his friend Prince Fielder to Los Angeles, and his own desire to stay with the Dodgers over the long term. Kemp agreed with his agent Dave Stewart's stance about not letting extension negotiations drag into the 2012 season. "I've heard from people that negotiating can get tough and maybe overwhelming," Kemp said. "I don't want to mess up the chemistry of the team. I just want to play baseball."
- Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times breaks down the details of McCourt's sale and notes that signing a big free agent like Fielder could be "a nine-figure liability" that could lower the club's sale price.
- Donald Trump tells Greta Van Susteren of FOX News (video link, around the 9:00 mark) that says he's "probably not" going to make a bid to buy the Dodgers but "there's always interest...because it's a great asset."
- As reported earlier today, the Dodgers signed Juan Rivera to a one-year, $4MM contract with a $4MM club option for 2013.
If the Dodgers attempt to lock Matt Kemp up to an extension this offseason, they shouldn't expect much of a hometown discount. Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, told Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times that the center fielder cares about more than winning and team chemistry.
"It's also important for him to be seen by his peers as one of the best," Stewart said. "This isn't Matt saying this, this is me saying this ... but, unfortunately, the way these things are seen is often based on how you're paid."
Kemp, 27, is a leading candidate for the National League MVP after hitting an NL-best 39 home runs with a .324/.399/.586 line. MLBTR projects a $16.3MM salary for Kemp in 2012, his final season before hitting free agency. He has said he won't discuss an extension once the 2012 season begins.
Last offseason's top outfielders, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, signed multiyear deals that valued their free agent seasons in the $18-21MM range. Perhaps the Kemp and the Dodgers would consider a seven-year deal that pays Kemp $15MM in 2012 and $20MM in each of the following six seasons for a seven-year total of $135MM.
On this date in 1988, Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson slugged his historic walk-off homer off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series. Here are some notes on clubs that reside in MLB's West divisions, including one on another Los Angeles outfielder:
- The Angels have received permission from the Diamondbacks to interview Jerry Dipoto, Arizona's senior vice president of scouting and player development, a major league source tells Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels will also interview Yankees executives Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler, and Dipoto is expected to interview for the Orioles' GM job.
- Dipoto is considered the favorite to become Baltimore's next GM, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz recently rehashed his near move to Japan a few years ago with Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. Nick Collias of MLBTR and Rumores de Beisbol was kind enough to translate: "My agent told me they were really interested and they'd pay me a relatively large amount of money for the last two months of the season," Cruz said. "I was in the minor leagues, I didn't have a future with the Rangers, and I wanted to begin to explore other options." The interested team was the Yomiuri Giants, and the salary would have been $800K, but Texas GM Jon Daniels declined. Good thing for the Rangers that he did.
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was named Major League Player of the Year by Baseball America. Kemp tied for the highest adjusted OPS (BA's version) among center fielders in the past 30 seasons, matching Ken Griffey Jr.'s 171 in 1997, writes Joe Haakenson.
The Diamondbacks, winners of the NL West in 2011, have pushed the Brewers to a decisive fifth game in the NLDS, and they may not have gotten there without the help of rookie slugger Paul Goldschmidt. Here's more on him and a few other items of note regarding NL West clubs ...
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said that extending Matt Kemp is an offseason priority but he won't set a firm deadline to get a deal done, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Last week, Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, set an extension deadline of Opening Day 2012, and Colletti told Shelburne he too prefers to work out deals in the offseason, but he doesn't have any hard and fast rules: "I've done a handful of deals during a season, but the total number is very small compared to those that have been done in the offseason," Colletti said. "You take every situation case by case, you never say no to anything."
- That Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda vetoed pre-deadline trades to the Tigers and Red Sox bodes well for Los Angeles' chances of re-signing the free agent, opines Jim Bowden of ESPN (via Twitter). We heard late last month that Kuroda is on the fence about re-signing with the Dodgers or returning to Japan.
- The Diamondbacks were awarded an August waiver claim on White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, two sources tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today, but trade discussions didn't progress, as the South Siders were targeting Goldschmidt, whom the Snakes weren't interested in trading. Konerko, who would have had to approve the trade because of his 10-and-5 rights, said a deal was never brought to him -- and he's not sure whether he would have accepted.
- The Rockies haven't ruled out bringing back third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes first reported that Kouzmanoff had elected free agency today after being outrighted on Tuesday.
- The Rox also are interested in retaining minor leaguers Jose Morales and Matt Daley, who were also outrighted, according to Renck (via Twitter).
The Dodgers’ best player is a year away from hitting free agency and if they don’t lock him up by the time the 2012 season starts, it appears that he’ll test the open market. Agent Dave Stewart told Bill Plaschke of the LA Times that he hopes to complete an extension for Matt Kemp by Opening Day 2012.
"I know it is not a good thing to negotiate a contract during the course of the year; it's just not," Stewart said. "The player needs to be clear of mind and just do his job, and the organization also doesn't need the distraction."
Timing isn’t just one consideration for the Dodgers. Kemp narrowly missed a 40-40 season and is a leading candidate for the National League MVP, so we’re “talking about some pretty heavy dollars," as Stewart points out.
"If we have a concern at all, it's going to be, are we going to be able to get paid what we're trying to get," Stewart said.
There are few statistical matches for Kemp, who led the league in home runs (39), OPS+ (171), total bases (353), runs scored (115) and RBI (126) this season. The 27-year-old can look forward to "new ground" from a contractual standpoint as well.
GM Ned Colletti says the Dodgers can afford long-term deals for Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw. MLBTR estimates a $16.3MM salary for Kemp in 2012, his final season before he’s eligible for free agency.
T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times talked to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti; here's the latest:
- Simers writes that "Frank McCourt has told Colletti that he will have the money needed to sign Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to long-term contracts this off-season as well as the money required to compete in the free-agent market." Simers suggests one way to pull this off would be to engineer lower 2012 salaries for the players, but that'd happen naturally since all three are arbitration eligible. If they go through the arbitration process, Matt Swartz's work for MLBTR suggests salaries of $15.1MM for Kemp, $7.7MM for Kershaw if he wins the Cy Young, and $11.8MM for Ethier.
- Colletti told Simers James Loney has eased his concerns, but the team needs another bat. Strong work in the season's final two months has pushed Loney to a .287/.339/.412 line, which could lead to the Dodgers tendering him a contract. Earlier this month, Colletti talked about improving the Dodgers' offense in the "most dramatic way."
- Colletti hopes to add a veteran reliever, but not a closer. He expects to go with a combination of Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra for the ninth inning next year. For all the latest on closing situations, be sure to check out CloserNews.com.
The first-place Diamondbacks had a magic number of 2 to clinch the NL West entering Thursday's action and could pop the champagne as soon as Friday. Here are some notes regarding three of the division's other ballclubs:
- Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, echoing what his agent said recently, told Beto Duran of ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles that he hasn't yet begun discussing a possible contract extension with the club but he'd like to spend the rest of his career there (Twitter link). Kemp is eligible for free agency after 2012.
- Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez won't return in 2011 and may have thrown his last pitch for the Lads, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. The Giants may non-tender Sanchez, or, if they do go through the arbitration process with him, could decide to trade him for a bat, according to Baggarly. Sanchez, 28, dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness this season, making just 19 starts, while earning $4.8MM. Sanchez does possess a big arm, so he won't have trouble finding a new job if and when the Giants decide to move on.
- The Rockies will seek a trade partner to offload closer Huston Street, perhaps in return for a starting pitcher, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. However, Renck notes it won't be easy to shop Street considering the depth of relief pitching on the free-agent market, so he could just as easily return to Colorado in 2012 (Twitter links).
- Giants first base prospect Angel Villalona, who recently had murder charges against him dropped in his native Dominican Republic, has reportedly changed agents from Boras Corp. to Para Sports, tweets Baggarly. Para Sports represents Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, as Baggarly notes, who also had murder charges against him dropped in the Dominican.
The Dodgers are a bankrupt company with declining revenues, but that doesn’t have to stop them from offering nine-figure contracts to their best players and the stars on the free agent market, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Shaikin surveyed players, agents, union officials and MLB executives and heard that the Dodgers will be able to spend despite the ongoing financial issues of owner Frank McCourt.
Michael Weiner is not only the executive director of the Players Association, he represents the interests of the Dodgers’ creditors. He says it’s in “everyone's interest for the team to be competitive and not compromised in trying to operate." Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP for labor relations, told Shaikin that McCourt is ”free to sign players to long-term contracts," though deals could require approval if they surpass $100MM.
The Dodgers’ revenues will likely drop $27MM this year, but MLB guarantees all player contracts, according to Shaikin. That means a team’s bankruptcy wouldn’t put a player at risk of losing any guaranteed money on a pre-existing deal.
GM Ned Colletti has talked about improving the team’s offense in “the most dramatic” way he can, so fans have started wondering about a long-term deal for MVP candidate Matt Kemp and the possibility of signing a middle-of-the-order hitter like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, told Shaikin that the Dodgers have not started discussing a long-term deal for the center fielder, who can file for free agency after 2012. Kemp isn’t worried about the direction of the team and would consider a multiyear deal if the Dodgers make a proposal.
Fielder has said that he’ll evaluate possible suitors based on their ability to win, but Scott Boras, the first baseman’s agent, pointed out that all players aren’t so forgiving. Pujols has said he plans to weigh offers from teams based on a number of factors, including minor league systems and the willingness of ownership groups to spend on improving the team, according to Shaikin.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti looked ahead to the 2012 season and discussed some of his winter priorities with MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The highlights....
- Colletti said the team won't undergo any major changes, noting that the Dodgers can contend as long as the offense is consistent. Indeed, L.A. is 30-21 since the All-Star break, with Juan Rivera providing the club with an offensive spark.
- Colletti hasn't yet discussed next year's payroll with owner Frank McCourt, which the GM noted is "not unusual" given that it's still in early September.
- "Up there in the top echelon of priorities" is signing Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to multiyear extensions. We heard earlier today from Dave Stewart, Kemp's agent, that the Dodgers hadn't yet broached the subject of a long-term deal with his client.
- Clayton Kershaw could also be an extension candidate but, as Colletti said, "it's less a priority for somebody with three years of arbitration." Kershaw is due for a big pay raise this winter as he enters the arbitration process for the first time.
- If Hiroki Kuroda doesn't return to Japan, Colletti said the Dodgers would be interested in bringing the right-hander back to Los Angeles.
- James Loney's recent hot streak is "more indicative of him and how he's hit the rest of his career," said Colletti. Loney has long been considered a non-tender candidate this winter since he's due a raise to around $6MM through arbitration and has a .711 OPS on the season, though he has a .382/.450/.629 line over his last 27 games.
- "It's never been easy to build through free agency and I really don't like to do it," Colletti said. "We do it when pressed, when we don't have a player coming through the system or on the Major League roster, but it's always more precarious than developing or trading." That said, the GM didn't totally rule out the prospect of signing a big-hitting free agent like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.
It was on this day 21 years ago that Orel Hershiser picked up the 20th win of his legendary 1988 campaign. Hershiser threw a complete game, seven-hit shutout of the Reds for the 20th of his eventual 23 wins that season. The nine shutout frames against Cincinnati represented innings 13 1/3-22 1/3 of Hershiser's record streaks of 59 1/3 scoreless innings.
Some modern-day news from Los Angeles....
- Dave Stewart, agent for Matt Kemp and a former Dodgers star himself, tells Tyler Kepner of The New York Times that he hasn't received any word from L.A. management about a possible multiyear extension for the MVP candidate. “If by some chance we’re able to get something long-term done, we’ll approach that when the ball club is ready to do it,” Stewart said. “But we’re preparing for a one-year contract and arbitration, if we have to. With the uncertainty of the ball club and ownership, really our only option is to sit and wait and hope that they come to us and want to talk to Matt about keeping him in Los Angeles for a long time.” If the two sides stick to a one-year deal, MLBTR estimates Kemp's 2012 salary to be around $15MM.
- Kepner also has a larger profile of Kemp, detailing his rise from an unheralded sixth-round draft pick to arguably the best player in the sport.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick outlines potential incentive clauses that Hiroki Kuroda and Jamey Carroll can reach in the season's closing weeks.
- Ned Colletti and Don Mattingly both expect the 2012 Dodgers' roster to largely resemble the 2011 version, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Both men feel the team is "only a player or two away" from contention.