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Matt Kemp has established that he will not accept the fourth outfielder role that the Dodgers may give him. He feels that he doesn’t deserve to be in that role, as he was a great player a couple of years ago, and he may be right. Los Angeles already has three solid players in the outfield, and they seem to be healthy a lot more than Kemp is. Perhaps Kemp isn’t a fit for Los Angeles, so let’s take a look at possible destinations for the 29 year old.
New York Mets
The possible trade:
Mets get: Matt Kemp
Dodgers get: Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Flores, and Domingo Tapia
The Mets feel that they have the pieces to win now, and in the division that they are in, if the Nationals falter, they have a shot at possibly winning a wild card. Syndergaard would have to be in any deal involving Kemp, and Wilmer Flores might be too much to give up. Tapia is a hard-throwing righty who I think the Dodgers could develop into a closer or a starter. He can hit triple digits at times, and if he keeps developing his curveball, he will have three above average pitches that should be good in the show.
Boston Red Sox
The possible trade:
Red Sox get: Matt Kemp
Dodgers get: Junichi Tazawa, Garin Cecchini, and Blake Swihart
The Red Sox are covered in right with Victorino, but the other two outfield spots are iffy. If Jackie Bradley Jr. can become the player that he is expected to be, then they are covered in center, left field doesn’t have a clear-cut starter, with Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes. If this deal were to go down, the Sox would have to move either Kemp or Bradley to left field. The outfield in Boston would be very good. In this deal, the Dodgers would acquire bullpen help with Tazawa, who is only 27. They would also get help at third base and catcher, with Cecchini and Swihart. The Sox wouldn’t have to give up top prospects Bogaerts or Bradley Jr., but they are giving up some substantial prospects. Trey Ball might also be involved in such a deal. Matt Kemp would definitely help the Sox make it to the promised land again in 2014.
Mariners get: Matt Kemp, cash
Dodgers get: Kyle Seager, Logan Morrison, James Paxton, Tyler Marlette
Third base is arguably the worst position on the Dodgers right now. Kyle Seager would get a shot at the job, and might eventually get to play with his brother, Corey Seager, who is coming up the ranks of the Dodger farm system. Logan Morrison would provide them depth at first base, behind Adrian Gonzalez. Morrison is relatively young, and would be a nice backup for the M’s. Currently, in the MLB.com depth chart, Morrison is behind both Justin Smoak and Cory Hart. The Dodgers would also acquire Marlette, a power-hitting catcher in Single A ball. James Paxton has been a stud for the Mariners, and would keep on producing for the Dodgers. He could be the future of the rotation along with Kershaw.
Four outfielders means that one of them could be dealt. Kemp would be the biggest name to move, and the contract of Carl Crawford makes him almost immovable, although he was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig is the face of the outfield in LA for years to come, unless he flames out. That means that he would be the last one dealt. Andre Ethier has the friendliest contract, but even that is a push. Don’t be surprised if you see Kemp or Ethier moved. Most teams would be pleased to add a player of their caliber to their lineup. These are theoretical suggestions, and should be taken with a grain of salt, as things can change rapidly in baseball.
We have all seen that Yasiel Puig is a man of extraordinary talent (with 19 home runs, 66 runs, 42 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases over a mere 104 games) to go along with numerous spectacular plays in the outfield. However there is another less talked of side of Puig.
Over this offseason Puig took his speedster status to the roads and was caught speeding at a ridiculous 110 MPH. In addition, Puig has been known to associate with celebrities such as rapper Jay-Z. Honestly, in my opinion, Puig is bound to be the Justin Bieber of baseball.
This leads me to wonder how the bright lights of MLB stardom will affect the youngster, especially in Los Angeles. I for one would not want to hand such a reckless young man a multi-million dollar contract and let him loose on the strips of California. Not only is he at risk of hurting himself, which would obviously effect the Dodgers lineup, but other bystanders as well. So the million dollar question is this: Are Puig’s talents worth putting up with his childish antics? I personally don’t think so but the deep-pocketed Dodgers likely feel differently.
If it were up to me, I would trade Yasiel Puig to a desperate team in exchange for some major league talent (like a catcher) while also receiving a large stock of prospects enough to ensure the Dodgers will be dominant for many years to come. This way, L.A. will be in a position to win now but will also be prepared for the future of the organization. This solution would also allow the Dodgers to avoid future pricey and messy arbitration hearings and contract negotiations with Puig. After all, the Dodgers have a more than capable replacement in Matt Kemp.
However chances are the Dodgers will not allow such a trade to happen, and will continue to enable Puig’s Bieber-like antics. Let’s just hope Puig doesn’t end up egging AT&T Park.
Here on the east coast us New Yorkers are snowed in. Meanwhile, pitchers and catchers for the Arizona Diamondbacks report tomorrow at their facility in Arizona. The reason they are reporting early this year is because they are traveling to Australia on March 23 to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Do you remember last winter when the D’Backs traded away slugger Justin Upton? They received Didi Gregorius, Martin Prado and traded away Upton and Chris Johnson. Everyone thought the Atlanta Braves had the best part of the deal, but really it was pretty even. Somehow Chris Johnson broke out, which no one even knew who he was before 2013 and Upton still hit bombs like before. Prado had a decent season for Arizona, and Gregorius is on the trade market for some odd reason. Does anyone know how the Arizona Diamondbacks will perform in 2014? They are a good team but it’s still not there time to shine.
Out in California I’m sure that many people are playing golf, at the beach, and not thinking about baseball. Well Puig, Kershaw, Ramirez, Gonzalez and the Dodgers are preparing for the big game in Australia. There is one problem for the crowded outfield in LA, there will be four players and only three spots. Of course Matt Kemp is still rehabbing, and said at Dodgers fan fest that he will take his time to have a great season in 2014. So in Australia it will not be a problem for the Dodgers. But heading into, say, May, what will they do? People are talking about trading Kemp, Andre Either, or Carl Crawford, but that is not the answer. If you trade Matt Kemp now, you will get nothing in return because of his past season. Carl Crawford has too much money attached to him for the Dodgers to trade. The only decent trade would be Andre Either, but he’s still young, has about $15M attached to him, and he’s still kind of young. When that time comes manager Don Mattingly is the best guy to fit in the four outfielders with Yasiel Puig.
Most clubs have their players reporting in about ten days, so we will finally have baseball back!