Over the course of the last week, it’s been reported that the Boston Red Sox have been heavily scouting Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. With the Red Sox’ production from the outfield being one of the league’s worst, it brings up a simple question: Is Matt Kemp the right fit for the Red Sox?
This question, until the trade deadline, will be one that will keep popping up no matter what. Kemp, a dynamic outfielder who can do it all, is being made available by the Dodgers. Kemp has power, speed and defense, something the Red Sox would welcome in their lineup. However, he also has bones made of glass, as he spends just as much time on the disabled list as he does on the field. Throw in the fact that he’s owed $128 million between this year and 2019 when he’ll be 35 years old and he’s a relatively high-risk/high-reward trade target.
The ironic part about this debate is this contract the Red Sox are possibly debating taking on is about $25 million less than the contract Jacoby Ellsbury was given by the New York Yankees. Now, it would be unfair to evenly compare Ellsbury and Kemp, but the principle of the matter is still the same. The Red Sox are hesitant about committing to long-term deals in the offseason, yet might be willing to deal for one mid-season.
Would Boston fans welcome Kemp to the Red Sox? Absolutely! He’s a five-tool player, which quite frankly is a trait that isn’t as prominent as it once was. Kemp slotted in the lineup somewhere between David Ortiz and Mike Napoli sounds incredible. When healthy, that would be a 3-4-5 combo that could match any team.
The other big question is what it would take to get Kemp. The advantage the Red Sox have is that he has a monster contract. With that being said, a trade could go one of two ways. The Dodgers could offer to eat a huge chunk of the contact, thus commanding a better return for the Red Sox. Or, the Red Sox could take on the contract, which seems unlikely after their recent signings and non-signings, but it would command a lesser return from the Sox. The Dodgers would certainly want at least one of the Red Sox’ top prospects; Mookie Betts comes to mind with his recent emergence in the outfield. While that seems unlikely, the Dodgers can demand whatever they want. They own the key to Kemp.
If Kemp can stay healthy, which isn’t likely, his production at Fenway Park could be through the roof. I would welcome a trade for Kemp to the Red Sox, but at the right price. The kid’s got talent, but will that be enough to get him in a Red Sox uniform?