Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Kemp both finished as MVP runner-ups in 2011. Now, they’re (kind of) intertwined again.
Perhaps preparing for life without Ellsbury, the Red Sox are one of several teams who have made inquiries on Kemp, according to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Kemp is believed to be available as the Dodgers look to move an outfielder.
There’s uncertainty as to who will be the Red Sox’ center fielder in 2014, now that Ellsbury is testing the free-agent market. One possibility is Jackie Bradley Jr., but it sounds like the Red Sox are at least exploring other options. Kemp is certainly an intriguing possibility.
Reports have indicated that the Dodgers are looking to move either Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford this offseason. Los Angeles also has Yasiel Puig as part of its outfield mix, so someone is certainly expendable, especially given the sizable contract of each player. Kemp is owed about $130 million over the next six years, although the Dodgers could always consider eating a portion of that contract for a better return on the trade market — similar to how the Tigers sent $30 million to the Rangers along with Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler.
According to Cafardo, the Dodgers have not been shopping Kemp, who is coming off ankle surgery, but teams have inquired. The Blue Jays and Mariners reportedly had trade talks with the Dodgers.
Kemp hit .270 with six home runs, 33 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 73 games during an injury-plagued 2013. He hit .303 with 23 homers, 69 RBIs and nine thefts in 2012. The 29-year-old’s best season came in 2011, when he finished second to Ryan Braun in NL MVP voting after hitting .324 with 39 blasts, 126 RBIs and 40 stolen bases.
It’s worth nothing that the Red Sox and Dodgers have a history of trades, most notably the 2012 blockbuster involving Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Crawford and Nick Punto.