2. Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays
All the Rays do is flush superfluous assets out of their system. They don’t care how good their “chemistry” is. They don’t care about the timing; whether it’s Blake Snell before the season, or Willy Adames when they’re smack dab in the middle of winning the AL East, they do not care.
That’s why we’re pretty sure that Kevin Kiermaier, who’s under contract through 2022 with a team option for 2023, will be rolling out of Tampa soon.
The speedy lefty-batting center fielder with 10-15-homer power (except … weirdly not in 2021) would nicely fill a rotational gap for the Dodgers in the same way that he does in Tampa. He doesn’t have to start every day; 100 games should be fine. He doesn’t have to lock down center field with regularity; he can float to left and right.
But when Mookie Betts goes down, the Dodgers need a trusted replicant. If CT3 gets swiped by another team (which seems quite likely), LA’s going to need somebody with more natural defensive instincts than Gavin Lux to fill center field. The inevitable AJ Pollock injury has consequences.
The Dodgers are one of very few MLB teams who can add another ~$9 million player at the drop of a hat, making them the favorites for Kiermaier the second the Rays decide to engage “sell mode.” It won’t torpedo their chances in 2022, but it will cause diehards to question the organization’s loyalty … as they not-so-secretly plot to spend half their time in Montreal.
Who knows? Maybe Kiermaier will ask out of town sooner, once he gets wind of those details.