Matt Kemp began the 2014 season on the disabled list and facing plenty of pressure to prove his injury-riddled 2013 season was merely bad luck.
The former National League MVP runner-up got off to a difficult start both at the plate and defensively. Kemp’s struggles resulted in him being benched and moved to left field.
He didn’t receive playing time immediately after the position change, but it did come when Carl Crawford sprained his ankle. Kemp’s productivity increased as he became more comfortable in left field and received regular at-bats.
However, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Kemp is open to being traded:
Matt Kemp isn’t asking the Dodgers to trade him. But he isn’t necessarily opposed to the idea, either.
Kemp’s desire to play in center field remains and Dave Stewart, Kemp’s agent, said his client wants to the opportunity play every day:
Whatever they want to do we’re favorable to, as long as it gives him an opportunity to play every day,” 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.”
While Crawford was on the disabled list, Kemp played in all but one game by the time the Los Angeles Dodgers hit the All-Star break. Twice he appeared as a pinch-hitter and he otherwise was a starter.
Crawford’s return hasn’t spelled doom for the former center fielder. In actuality it’s been Crawford who has faced an uphill battle. Manager Don Mattingly stated he wouldn’t tinker with what’s worked simply because another outfielder was being added to the mix.
Whereas Kemp’s playing time hasn’t been cut, it does appear a return to center field with the Los Angeles Dodgers is not in the cards. The Boston Red Sox were once believed to be interested in Kemp, but that reportedly is no longer the case.
The Dodgers were also rumored to be shopping all outfielders outside of Yasiel Puig earlier this season. Kemp may be open to being traded, but the five years, $107 million remaining on his contract, not counting this season, makes that a difficult proposition for the Dodgers.
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