The agent for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp says he is not opposed to being dealt, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, especially if a deal would lead to him being a team’s everyday center fielder. The logjam in the Los Angeles outfield that, when healthy, includes Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, in addition to Kemp, has led to a mix-and-match approach to the lineup card for most of this season.
“Whatever they want to do we’re favorable to, as long as it gives him an opportunity to play every day,” Kemp’s agent and former big leaguer Dave Stewart said. “He’d like to eventually go back to center field. He’s not opposed to right or left. But his hope at some point is to get back to center.”
Kemp has started 40 of Los Angeles’ last 42 games in left field and has not been the same player he was prior to sustaining injuries last year. The 29-year-old, who is owed a whopping $107 million through 2019, is batting .269/.330/.430 on the season for Los Angeles, but has just eight home runs in 336 at-bats.
The team is hesitant to deal him, though, given A) the amount of money he is owed and B) trading Kemp would leave the Dodgers with just one right-handed power bat (Puig) guaranteed in the 2015 lineup. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 campaign.
Several teams have, at the very least, checked in on Kemp, who is a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and Silver Slugger recipient. He also finished second to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun in the 2011 National League MVP balloting after hitting .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs.
Both the Mariners and Red Sox expressed interest in Kemp last offseason, but the Dodgers declined to trade him then with his value at a low point. The Red Sox scouted the Dodgers recently, according to major-league sources, but it’s not known whether they were looking at Kemp or other players.
For now, it appears Kemp is staying in Los Angeles. If any deal were to be facilitated, don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers eat a nice chunk of salary in the process given he hasn’t regained his former luster – at least not yet.