It’s probably time to stop acting like Matt Kemp’s contract is terrible

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Now that Matt Kemp trade rumors are swirling (click here to see all of them collected in one place) I’ve seen lots of people acting as if his contract is an albatross.

That may have been true at one point thanks to a combination of the contract’s length and Kemp’s performance slipping, but the former MVP runner-up is coming off a bounceback season and the remaining contract simply isn’t all that crazy.

Kemp is owed $107 million for five seasons. He is 30 years old and hit .287 with 25 homers and an .852 OPS in 150 games this year. Here’s a list of all the MLB outfielders with higher adjusted OPS+ than Kemp this year: Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista, Michael Brantley, Yasiel Puig. That’s it. That’s the whole list. (And he was even better in 2011 and 2012).

His adjusted OPS+ of 140 was the exact same mark posted by Nelson Cruz, a 34-year-old best suited for designated hitter duties. Whatever you think of Kemp’s defense it’s certainly better than Cruz’s defense, and as a free agent with plenty of baggage Cruz just signed a four-year, $57 million contract. You don’t think Kemp would top that deal if he were a free agent? I’ll bet he would, perhaps by a sizable amount.

If the Dodgers think trading Kemp would fetch a worthwhile return while also freeing up a bunch of money to spend elsewhere that certainly could make sense, but purely in terms of evaluating Kemp and his remaining contract it’s probably time to stop acting like it’s some disastrous deal to be unloaded at all costs.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.