The Nationals would have interest in acquiring Matt Kemp should the Dodgers make him available in a trade, a baseball source tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
According to Kilgore, the team’s potential interest in Kemp and other free agent outfielders indicates that the club is looking at a creative solution should the club fail to re-sign Adam Dunn this winter.
Kemp’s star faded a bit this season, as he compiled a disappointing .249/.310/.450 batting line to go along with 28 homers and 89 RBI. The 26-year-old was an above average defender in center field in 2009 according to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), but his -24.3 UZR this season ranked last among qualified outfielders. He was also just 19-for-34 (56 percent) in stolen base attempts, which is actually worse than Nyjer Morgan’s success rate.
Kemp avoided arbitration by signing a two-year, $10.95 million contract with the Dodgers in January, so he is still owed $6.95 million in 2011 and remains under team control through the 2012 season.
Amid the drama of his 2010 campaign, Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart indicated to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times that a trade could be a good idea for his client. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told Buster Olney of ESPN.com last week that he is not looking to trade Kemp, but would listen to offers. Kemp still has the potential to be one of the better all-around players int the league, so the Nationals won’t be only team calling.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.