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Report: Red Sox contemplating trading for Matt Kemp

Jul 27, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

Matt Kemp Matt Kemp

ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox are considering trading for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, including in a deal that would involve starter Jon Lester. Lester is eligible for free agency after the season, but recently said he would be willing to return to the team even if they trade him.

Kemp’s contract and injury history, of course, are two major concerns for any team interested in trading for him. The 29-year-old is in the third year of an eight-year, $160 million contract. $107 million remains between 2015-19. Kemp has undergone surgical procedures on his ankle and shoulder, playing in just 179 total games between 2012-13. This season, he is slashing .273/.339/.429 with eight home runs and 40 RBI while playing all three outfield positions.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    At least they are not contemplating Crawford.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      So now that we have heard that both the Mariners and the Red Sox might be interested in Kemp, which Mystery Team will get him? How about the Yankees?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Pass!

      • albmtz - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        Is Kemp the new Jeter in the dating world of NYC? kinda makes sense

  2. apkyletexas - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Might as well just do like the Joker in the Dark Knight movie and just pile up your money and burn it. Got to figure a .768 OPS may be as good as it ever gets for Kemp going forward. How is that possibly worth $107 million over the next 5 1/2 years? And how bad is the Red Sox player development that they would even want that?

  3. tfbuckfutter - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Awesome. Trade a guy whose value is through the roof for an albatross contract.

  4. SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    If I’m the Dodgers, I’m not offering to eat contract in this scenario. If the Sox want to send a rent-a-player, fine; you get all of Kemp’s contract back.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      I like this strategy. You suggest something AND get all the benefit and none of the detriment.

      I’m going to try and talk my wife into having an orgy. But only me, her and other females. And she has to get all the females. And there should be sandwiches.

      • drewzducks - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        The Dodgers have ZERO leverage in this scenario. Cherrington can offer him up to LAD/SFO/STL/PIT/OAK and play them against each other, hoping for the best deal. He can also gain some good will (something severely lacking amongst some in the Sox hierarchy) by keeping Lester involved in the process and maybe giving him a choice, depending on Ben’s assessment of the quality of the offers, with the end goal of re-signing him in the winter. Keeping him and aggressively negotiating a long term deal would be my preference.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        The Dodgers already have the best rotation in ball, even with Haren’s struggles. How many places would Lester be the No. 3 starter? And, yes, he’d be behind Greinke as well as Kershaw.

        No, the Dodgers have a good deal of leverage. They’d still love to have him, but by no means do they have to.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        That’s cool.

        They can trade him to the Dodgers competition who may directly value his contributions more.

        I wonder if that might add value to the Dodgers offer.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:33 PM

        Whoever the Giants have to offer, it will be a lot less than Kemp.

        Sorry, TK, but that’s an idle threat. Outside the division, within the NL, the Cards would pay nowhere near that price in players for a rent-a-player. Nor would the Brew. Dunno about the Braves. The Nats are prolly OK with their staff as it stands.

        So, idle threat.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        It’s not an idle threat.

        The notion that the Sox would trade an ace pitcher for a bad contract is ridiculously asinine.

        My point is that the market is booming so there’s no reason the team would take a deal that doesn’t favor them when there will be 10 others eager to dance

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        I disagree. As noted, the Dodgers have MLB’s best rotation, and Boston initiated the move idea. They apparently WANT Kemp. If they want him badly enough, they’ll pay for him.

      • bolweevils2 - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Whoever the Giants offer is going to be a lot less than Kemp? Worse than a bad contract you couldn’t give away for free, much less get you a valuable piece like Lester? You’re living in a dream world.

        You say the Dodgers shouldn’t eat any salary, but let’s say they were willing to eat something crazy like $60M. Even in that extreme example Kemp’s remaining deal would be 5 years/$47M. Do you think Kemp is worth 5 years/$47M these days? If he was a free agent, would he get a 5 years/$47M offer? Of course not.

        Why would the Sox give up something of value to take on a contract they wouldn’t offer even if they didn’t have to give up anything? Kemp might be worth a shot at 1 year/$12M, 2 years/$20M, something like that to see if he has anything left. But no one would want to take him for 5 years at this point.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        Wrong. Again, Kemp is far different from a Ryan Howard. His contract is of lesser amount. He’s younger, and might well bounce back at least somewhat. A .768 OPS is solidly above Howard’s .684.

        And, this is a many who came within spitting distance of the mythical 40-40, and two spits’ distance of a Triple Crown, just 3 years ago.

        Yes, he’s declined since then, but the idea that the Dodgers will have to eat all of his contract? The Red Sox ain’t the Rays.

        And, even if he doesn’t “bounce baok,” at current level of performance, his OPS+ is 118.

    • paperlions - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      You would be awesome at trading.

      The Red Sox would get a comp pick that’ll wing up being about 30th if the don’t resign Lester, trading him gives up that pick. Therefore, obviously, they would have to get something back that is worth more than that pick represents.

      Trading Kemp isn’t about how much money they eat, if they keep him, they get to eat it all, it is about how much they can get someone else to eat for them.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        The Sox have an offensively suck-ass OF not getting any better, and, they apparently think, not getting better from the minors up **next year.**

        Since, on Boston’s end, if they want Kemp as a **long-term** upgrade, because this is not a this-year trade for them, if not all of Kemp’s contract, they’ll take most of it.

      • paperlions - Jul 28, 2014 at 7:41 AM

        Again, logic would be nice. Kemp is not the only available OF upgrade and need doesn’t determine value, player ability does. Your argument is equivalent to “The Red Sox car broke down, they need to get to work, and if they want a long term upgrade they should buy the 1991 Volvo from their neighbors for the crazy $50K they are asking because it has been running well the last couple of months.

  5. pisano - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Please do it, this is right there with the Carl Crawford signing.

    • drewzducks - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      But not the disaster that are the Sabathia and Arod contracts. And they also found a chump willing to assume the entirety of Crawford’s deal. Good luck finding someone to assume all of Cashman’s mistakes. Now, if the Sox DON’T make the Dodgers eat 25-35% of the contract, then you’ll have a valid point.

  6. xpensivewinos - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    One of the problems with the Dodgers strategy of spending money like it’s water is teams really don’t care if they made a mistake. You signed a bad contract, so you can pay most of it if you want me to take the guy off your hands. Especially, for a guy like Lester…….who even if he’s a rental, he could legitimately help the Dodgers win the World Series this year.

    The Dodgers won’t be able to trade Kemp to anyone without eating most of that contract.

  7. paint771 - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Maybe I’m the only one, but I still feel like Kemp is a guy that could really come back alive with a change of scenery. He’s still a massively talented dude with a lot of tools, and he’s only 29. If he can manage to stay healthy (which is the big risk; be really interested in his medical evaul) and gets another shot at leading a team and being a linchpin player, I don’t see any reason why he can’t at least return to being an All-Star outfielder. Dude hit .324 his last full season and as much as he’s struggled has still hit .283 in his injury-riddled start-and-stop time since then. We quote his struggles as “he sucks”, but even crap numbers for him are still better than probably 2/3s of outfielders on 25-man rosters right now. And, his struggles have been health, attitude, playing time and fit, not talent or age or something else immutable.

    Of course, it goes without saying that he’s CERTAINLY not worth $21 million a year at this point, but I’d still say he has a helluva lot more upside than guys with similar stupid contracts and production drop-offs like Howard, Crawford, Hamilton, Mauer, etc. I don’t know, doesn’t seem the craziest thing in the world to me, assuming an organization can take on some salary and the deal is right. Compared to some other albatrosses floating around, I still think Kemp has some good years left in him.

    • yahmule - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      I think a bounceback is possible, but I would stop running him. The stolen bases are not worth the physical toll/risk.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      That is my thought, too. Since the Sox are in need, they’ll “eat” a fair chunk of his contract, at least. This is nowhere near a Ryan Howard situation.

  8. Cortez>Sapp - Jul 27, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    This trade makes ZERO sense for Boston. SO many teams need pitching, an over the hill, expensive OF is the best they can get?? No way. Why not someone like SEA for a package of Nick Franklin, DJ Peterson and Carson Smith? Then they still have the available cash to sign Lester in the off-season?

    • paint771 - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Are you nuts? It’s a two month rental that probably won’t sign an extension. You think somebody is going to give up two top ten prospects and an MLB-ready outfielder under control for five more years for 12 starts of Lester? Seriously?

      Sorry man, but there are many teams that need pitching, and only like three or four that are contending and willing to pay for it. And the Sox have less leverage than you think here – if they play hardball and lose, they get jack squat. They deal Lester in the next four days or they get absolutely or next to nothing. If they could get ONE of the three players you mentioned, I’d say they came out ahead.

      • misterschmo - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:09 PM

        They got two of the Giant’s top ten for Peavey. Not crazy talk to expect a little better for Lester.

    • tominma - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      Sources in Boston say that if Lester is traded, he would NOT be resigning with Boston. He wants 7 yes @ $150M. That is NOT going to happen! I would think Boston could get a starter and a prospect or 2 for Lester. The Sox don’t want to be paying $25M+ in the future for a 36 yo pitcher on the downside of his career.

  9. xbam1 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    as a Yankee fan i hope the Sux pull this one off!

  10. irishlad19 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Sounds like it’s trading time and the rumors are rampant.

  11. sabatimus - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Any trade involving Kemp going to the Sox would be utterly stupid unless the Sox only have to give up maybe a second bag of baseballs for him.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      He’s not yet 30, may get over his spate of injuries and is still a decent player. This is far, far different from a Ryan Howard.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      The Dodgers are probably the ones floating this obviously fake rumor in an effort to get whomever they are dealing with to up their offer.

      Why anyone would want Matt Kemp is beyond me. He was great in 2011, and good in 2012 (only playing 100 games, though). I’d be stunned — stunned — if the Red Sox wanted Kemp at any price.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Great piece about it here:

        http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/content/20140728-jon-lester-for-matt-kemp-the-math-doesnt-work.ece

  12. Cortez>Sapp - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    @paint771: The Red Sox got 2 Top 10 prospects for Jake Peavy who has an ERA over 4.00 and you don’t think the Red Sox could get 3 for one of the top 3 LH starters??

    • 18thstreet - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Those 2 were among the Giants’ top prospects at the START of the year. Neither of them was all that impressive this year.

      But, yes, if Peavy is worth (X), then Lester is obviously worth A LOT more than that. Plus, if the Red Sox hold onto him and he goes to free agency, the Sox get a compensatory draft pick. So — at minimum! — the deal has to be worth more than that draft pick.

      • danfrommv - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Agree that the deal has to be worth more than a draft pick. But draft picks in the 30th spot of the 1st round are dicey, at best (even top 10 picks have a spotted history).

    • danfrommv - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Sounds like the Giants badly overpaid for a mediocre pitcher. That doesn’t necessarily set the bar for all other transactions. That being said, I can’t imagine the Red Sox would trade Kemp for Lester even up unless the Dodgers eat all but $1M salary per year.

  13. edelmanfanclub - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    If they trade Lester it’s going to be for a team’s top prospect. Kemp won’t be part of that deal, maybe in a separate trade. But I still can’t see it, not just his contract but we already have a logjam in the OF. Victorino, Bradley, Nava, Gomes, Carp. I know Carp or Gomes should be dealt at the deadline, but unless the Sox create some room there’s nowhere to put Kemp. If the Dodgers pick up north of 35 million, I would like to see how he fares in Fenway playing full time as a RF. He had a slow start but he’s hitting .297/.370/.440 since the beginning of June

  14. wilmyers09 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    red soxs are out of dont get why they would trade for matt kemp lol not like they are going to make a run matt kemp wont help much either

  15. dillongeeescapeplan - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Ew. No thanks.

  16. SocraticGadfly - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    I simply don’t get the commenters here who think LA would have to eat 90 percent or whatever of Kemp’s salary.

    1. This is obviously, from Boston’s POV, a long-term move.
    2. Boston asked for Kemp specifically.

    So, no, the Dodgers don’t have to give him up while eating most of his contract.

    • danfrommv - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      I think the Dodgers WANT to get rid of Kemp at this point, even if they eat most of his salary. He is a weak defender and hasn’t bounced back to anywhere near his former self (that earned the contract). He MAY rebound in the future, but who knows. At the same time, Joc Pederson is touted to be the best CF in the organization, and I think the Dodgers want to strengthen the OF defense.

  17. theskinsman - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Kemp is fading away, If Boston doesn’t get LA to eat the majority of his contract, then no,thanks. This year’s Sox can limp home in last without Kemp adding to the anchor drag.

  18. psousa1 - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    This is simply a writer whose livelihood depends on website hits. Writers can enter a banner with ‘Sources say Angels to trade Mike Trout’.

    Not like you have to prove your so called source

    You did your job by generating a hit on your story.

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