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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.