Thursday, July 17, 2014

Will the Dodgers look to trade Matt Kemp?

If it's up to Kemp, it might just happen.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Wednesday that Kemp's agent Dave Stewart, the former All-Star pitcher, acknowledged that if Kemp doesn't get a chance to play everyday in center field again, he'd be open to a trade.

That's not exactly the same as flat out saying he wants out, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of staying with the Dodgers long-term either.

Now let's ask the question - Should the Dodgers be willing to trade him?  I think so.

If you've read my recent posts, then you've seen that I haven't exactly been thrilled with the amount of strikeouts and bad clutch hitting Kemp has shown lately.  He did hit well in June at .317 with three homers and 16 RBIs, but in July it's .231 with no homers and four RBIs.  He's striking out once every three at-bats this month (13/39), and generally looks like he's lost.

That's not to mention his horrific play in center, which sent him packing to left in late May.  Don Mattingly hasn't appeared to entertain the thought of moving him back to his original position yet.

This is a bit of a tough call, because we've all seen how good he can be when he's on.  We'll never forget just how awesome he was in 2011, hitting .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs, while stealing 40 bases.  There was no better player in baseball that year, even though the soon-to-be busted Ryan Braun claimed the NL MVP award.

Since then, it's been a series of injuries, which has caused him to lose a step.  Or even two steps.  Basically, he looks like a shell of his former self.

Right now, the Dodgers have a couple of examples of guys who have turned things around after playing some atrocious baseball: Juan Uribe and Brandon League.  Uribe is one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball, and is hitting .297; League had a 5.30 ERA last year, and now it's 2.09.  So, it's very possible Kemp can start playing better.

Here's why I would be in favor of seeking out a trade: I have yet to hear Kemp say anything along the lines of "my bad."  I've heard him say he'll go to left for now, I've heard him say he would like to play everyday, and now I've heard him say he'd be open to being traded.  But when have you ever seen Kemp come out and admit he's been awful and needs to pick things up?

If he has, then I certainly missed it.  It would be nice if he just acknowledged how poorly he's looked rather than acting like he's owed what he wants.  Not on a team contending for a championship, and not on a team with four other legit starting outfield options.  No way.

Rosenthal pointed out that last year the Red Sox and Mariners expressed interest in Kemp, and the Sox were known to have scouted the Dodgers this year as well.  Were they looking at Kemp?  I wouldn't be surprised, as the Sox' offense has been horrible.

This is definitely a story to keep an eye on, as the trade deadline is a couple of weeks away.  Maybe the Dodgers aren't even considering this, but maybe they've been thinking about this for quite awhile.  I tend to lean towards the latter.  We'll all soon find out.

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