ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox are considering trading for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, including in a deal that would involve starter Jon Lester. Lester is eligible for free agency after the season, but recently said he would be willing to return to the team even if they trade him.
Kemp’s contract and injury history, of course, are two major concerns for any team interested in trading for him. The 29-year-old is in the third year of an eight-year, $160 million contract. $107 million remains between 2015-19. Kemp has undergone surgical procedures on his ankle and shoulder, playing in just 179 total games between 2012-13. This season, he is slashing .273/.339/.429 with eight home runs and 40 RBI while playing all three outfield positions.
Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.
If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.
In other news, the Rays announced a new blog: