Matt Kemp’s agent, former major league pitcher Dave Stewart, had this to say Wednesday about his ongoing negotiations with the Dodgers’ front office concerning a contract extension for his client (via ESPN L.A.):
“I don’t think that it’s going to be difficult, I really don’t,” Stewart said. “I think we should be able to come to something. I have talked with [general manager Ned Colletti] on a few occasions. We have covered some ground, and hopefully, we will be able to put this thing to bed soon.”
Kemp, who batted .324 with a fantastic .986 OPS, 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 161 games this year, is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2012 season. The Dodgers obviously want to lock him up before he gets a whiff of the open market, but they face a teetering ownership situation and an up-in-the-air budget.
While Stewart’s optimism is refreshing, it’s safe to wonder what exactly Colletti and Co. can actually afford to commit to right now. If Kemp is to be paid the market rate, an extension could surpass $100 million.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.