Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports speculates that the Dodgers are still hoping to offload Matt Kemp this winter. While no trade partners have been identified yet, Heyman adds that the team has reportedly narrowed it down to three or four “potential landing spots,” presumably teams that are also looking to jettison a bad contract of their own or willing to take a few choice prospects along with the veteran outfielder.
Kemp, 33, currently has two years and an unpalatable $43 million left on his contract. He’s about six years removed from his last productive season, but still managed to cough up a .276/.318/.463 batting line and 19 home runs in 467 PA with the Braves last year, even as his abysmal defense (fifth-worst among all major league outfielders, per FanGraphs) dragged his fWAR down to a career-worst -0.5 mark.
While the Dodgers may have some takers in mind, there may not be mutual interest in a deal given Kemp’s age, recent decline, clubhouse issues and sizable contract — no matter what the team uses to sweeten the deal. Just a month ago, the trade market for the outfielder was considered non-existent, and rumor has it that the Dodgers plan on releasing him if a deal can’t be struck sometime in the next few months.
The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.
The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.
Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.
Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.