While the Dodgers aren’t overtly shopping Matt Kemp, teams are aware of their outfield situation in which they have four capable players for three positions. As a result, the Dodgers have been taking some phone calls from teams interest in Kemp. The Red Sox are the latest to inquire, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The Red Sox may have to move on without Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, and Kemp could be one option going forward. However, he has six years and $128 million remaining on his contract. Though the Sox would have little problem finding room to fit him on the payroll, it would mark a departure from the strategy that helped them win the World Series. After shedding expensive, lengthy contracts in Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, and resorting to mid-tier free agents — Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, Shane Victorino — on shorter contracts, taking on Kemp’s $21-plus million for six years would be a reversal.
A potentially more palatable option for the Red Sox could involve Victorino moving to center field and signing veteran Carlos Beltran to a two- or three-year deal to play right field.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.