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Dodgers still trying to trade Matt Kemp

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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.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.