Matt Kemp and the Other Outfielders Aren’t Going Anywhere


Day three of the GM Winter Meetings is here, and the Dodgers haven’t pulled any big trades despite all the speculation and outrageous scenarios concocted by fans and the media alike. Last winter many fans were clamoring for Andre Ethier to be traded, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. If he had been dealt last offseason we would have had Skip Schumaker in center field most of the season after Kemp’s three tiered 2013 disability tour kicked off. This offseason it’s the same old situation. The Dodgers seem to have one too many outfielders, yet it’s most likely that other than Puig, the other three won’t play in all 162 games or even be on the field at the same time during Spring Training.

With Kemp still in a walking boot as his surgically repaired ankle slowly heals, his ability to run come Spring Training is already in question. That means the Dodgers can’t trade Andre Ethier unless they plan to go with Joc Pederson in center field or move Yasiel Puig to center during the Spring. I know a lot of you do not like the idea of playing Puig in center, and you have legitimate concerns regarding that idea. Puig only appeared in center field for 11 games last season, so even though his time in center was anything but pretty, it’s not like he couldn’t man center if need be. He has the speed, the range, the arm, and the bravado to play center. He just needs more experience. Like I have mentioned before, I see the Dodgers playing Puig in center a lot this Spring in order to create a failsafe to back-up Kemp.

A few clubs have shown interest in Kemp including Seattle, but do we really want any of Seattle’s players in return?

Having four star outfielders isn’t really a problem, is it? Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

What could we possibly get for Kemp right now which would be worth giving up on a MVP caliber player? It just wouldn’t be a smart move at all. The Dodgers could trade Ethier, but then if Kemp should have more health issues, the Dodgers would be forced to play Puig in center or Pederson. As much as I want to see Pederson a Dodger, I just don’t see the Dodgers giving him a shot right now. I know many feel that Pederson could break camp this Spring and even make the Opening Day roster. That would have to preclude a trade of one of the four outfielders or an injury preventing one of them from starting the season. It could happen, but as of right now Joc is blocked.

Don Mattingly spoke at the Winter Meetings in Florida and had this to say about the outfielder situation:

"“It’s a good problem to have for me. I think we can make that work.”"

Colletti responded to the outfielder trade speculations with this short answer:

"“We’re fine without doing anything there.”"

Sounds reminiscent of last winter, doesn’t it?

If it was my choice, I’d trade Carl Crawford out of the four if I had to trade one of them. CC has a weak arm, barely runs anymore, and he can’t play center field. Yet the question of what we can get in return for him is unclear. His long, albatross of a contract will most likely loom over the Dodgers for quite some time.

Ned Colletti basically said he has other work to be done this winter rather than trading one of the outfielders, and the gaping hole at third base is the most critical right now. If the Dodgers should not sign Juan Uribe, then it’s possible that they could trade for a hot corner man. Otherwise the prospect of Michael Young playing third base will become a reality, and none of us want that. No, no we don’t.

Take everything Matt Kemp‘s agent (Dave Stewart) says with a grain of salt. Matt Kemp won’t be going anywhere unless there’s some fantastic trade offered to Colletti which he couldn’t refuse. Matt Kemp is a very complicated case, and while some fans have become frustrated with his two years of being injury riddled, you have to consider that it isn’t all his fault. I question some of the medical advice and rehab he received after he injured his shoulder the first time. That’s for another post. I don’t know if he will be able to regain his 2011 form again, but I sure hope the Dodgers don’t give up on him just yet.

Even if the Dodgers don’t trade anyone this winter, they could very well do so in Spring when they can gauge all four outfielders and how their health stacks up and where they can play. Joc Pederson, if not traded, could be the catalyst which spurs a Spring trade, but I wouldn’t get to excited about Joc taking over for any of the other four outfielders just yet.

Right now there are bigger concerns for the Dodgers. Trading away one of their star outfielders doesn’t seem like the right thing to do right now unless they can’t shore up third base that is. Third base. I’m terrified of the possibilities. Is Casey Blake still out there?