Can you imagine Matt Kemp in a Padre uniform? The thought is bizarre and disturbing, but it could become reality this winter. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are discussing with the Padres a trade that would involve Kemp.
Before the speculation begins it’s important to remember that Kemp is still a Dodger. He hasn’t been traded yet. So far these are just talks. Plus there are several other clubs that the Dodgers are talking to that are still interested in Kemp. Nothing is a done deal yet. But the winter meetings go on, and another day ticks off the calendar without the Dodgers doing much of anything.
It’s possible that the Dodgers would take catcher Yasmani Grandal and a few other pieces in a Kemp trade, according to Rosenthal. At least the two clubs have discussed this. However Kemp’s bloated contract (five years and 107 million remaining) is a key hurdle to getting any kind of deal done.
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But what do the Padres have that would be a fit for the Dodgers? Not much I tell you. My initial thoughts on a Kemp to San Diego trade is that the Padres might as well throw in Tyson Ross. What’s the point of moving Kemp if we’re not going to get value for him? And the Dodgers may have to eat a sizeable amount of his contract.
We know San Diego has three solid catchers in Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, and top prospect Austin Hedges. Although Rivera can’t really hit much, and Hedges may still be a year or two away from being major league ready.
There were even talks about the Padres taking on A.J. Ellis’s contract in the exchange. Wouldn’t that be weird? But other than the catchers, what else do the Padres have to offer the Dodgers?
Well they have a lot of good young pitching. The Tyson Ross’s, the Kevin Quackenbushs’, the Andrew Cashners’. What about an Ian Kennedy? Pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne looks interesting. Adrian thinks we should stay far away from Everth Cabrera. Would you be interested in a Cory Luebke?
Other than that nothing else jumps off the page at you. San Diego has quite a few decent young relievers, a couple of good starting pitchers, and the catchers. That’s it.
But what is Matt Kemp worth? At one point Kemp posted a WAR of 8.2 during his MVP runner-up season of 2011. Yasmani Grandal’s best season was a 2.8 performance in 2012. Grandal would be a nice pick-up, but is he worth a Kemp in his prime?
Probably not. But I guess you have to ask yourself if Kemp can ever regain that MVP form from a few years ago? I’m sure the Dodger front office is asking themselves the same question. Maybe it is fair to assume that Kemp’s best days are behind him? At age 30, with his injury history it could be a fair judgment to make.
However when you look at Kemp’s 2014 season you can easily see that MVP caliber bat resurfacing again. Kemp blasted 25 home runs in 2014, and batted .287 with a .346 OBP. The Bison drove in 89 runs while posting an .852 OPS in 599 plate appearances. Kemp drew 52 walks, and had 155 hits, while posting a slugging percentage of .506.
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Despite a few early injuries and a slow start, Kemp had a fine 2014 season. Is the 2011 Kemp back? Probably not, but he has a chance to come back to us again. Although Kemp does strike out a lot. He whiffed 145 times last season. He doesn’t steal bases anymore. He stole 40 in 2011, coming up just one home run short of a 40/40 season.
Since then he’s stolen nine bases in 2012, nine in 2013, and eight last season. He has lost his speed, and had to be moved from center field to right field. His defense is still a concern, although Kemp vehemently insists that he will return to center field one day soon.
Whether that happens remains to be seen. Playing center field in Petco Park would not be easy. That’s a huge ball park with a lot of outfield to cover. But Kemp still has a lot of Power, and can still get on base at a good clip. He had an OPS+ of 140 in 2014. That’s pretty impressive.
It would seem odd to consider the Dodgers and Padres making any big trades. They’ve only made two I think since the clubs swapped Jim Bruske in 1998. There was the 2006 trade for Greg Maddux, and the 2013 waiver wire trade for starting pitcher and sideways hat wearer Edinson Volquez.
Otherwise I can’t remember any other trades between the two division rivals. I’m not real keen on the idea of trading him to a division rival either. Why can’t we do a trade with one of those America League central teams again?
If the Dodgers do trade Kemp, then they better get full value for him. Kemp is one of the longest tenured Dodgers, and is still a fan favorite. Because losing our home grown Bison would be a bitter pill for Dodger fans to swallow.