Prior to last season coming to an end, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said a resolution for the team’s crowded outfield need to be reached this offseason.
When Andrew Friedman was hired as president of baseball operations, he expressed little concern over the surplus of outfielders. However, at the general managers’ meetings in Phoenix earlier this month, Friedman acknowledged the Dodgers would benefit from trading an outfielder.
Friedman’s remarks came after the Dodgers reportedly began shopping Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Since that point, Kemp’s name has continued to draw considerable interest and according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Seattle Mariners have inquired on the outfielder:
#Mariners have had trade talks on multiple RH outfielders, including Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes, and Justin Upton. They want to land one.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 25, 2014
While Yoenis Céspedes may be the most attractive outfielder due to his age, talent and ability to remain healthy, he could pose a free agency problem for the Mariners in 2016 as he has just one year remaining on his contract.
The same is true for Justin Upton, which leaves Kemp granted perhaps still with some injury concerns, as the only outfielder of the three mentioned that comes with long-term security; the 30 year old has $107 million remaining on his contract over five years.
Kemp got off to a slow start last season before finishing the year strong after finding a new home in right field. After the All-Star break, Kemp slashed .309/.365/.606 with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs. Kemp finished the year batting .287/.346/.506, hit 25 home runs and drove in 89 runs.
If the Dodgers are to move Kemp, it may open the door for Joc Pederson to start in center field come Opening Day and it would move Yasiel Puig back to right field. However, that would be a large jump for Pederson, who only has 18 Major-League games under his belt and 11 strikeouts in 28 at-bats.