Reports have surfaced that the Boston Red Sox are contemplating a trade for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. The reports state that Red Sox ace Jon Lester would be included in the deal. This trade would surely benefit the Dodgers, as Lester would bolster an already stacked pitching staff, but it would not make much sense for the Red Sox organization.
Kemp is currently playing under the third year of an eight-year, $160 million contract, with $107 million still remaining in the deal. The reports do not specify how much of the contract that Red Sox would have to assume, but it is likely the organization would become responsible for the entire remaining amount of money on Kemp’s contract.
Essentially, the Red Sox would be acquiring a 29-year-old, injury-prone outfielder and likely multiple prospects for their staff ace. When healthy, Kemp is one of the best outfielders in all of baseball, but he has not been able to remain healthy over the past three seasons, playing in just 273 games and counting.
Lester, on the other hand, has made at least 31 starts in every season since 2008, becoming Boston’s ace along the way. Lester will become a free agent after the 2014 season, but trading him to the Dodgers now instead of trying to re-sign him would be a mistake, given that Lester would likely not re-join the Red Sox during this offseason.
As a whole, the Red Sox do not have enough starting pitching to afford dealing away their staff ace. The team also has an influx of young, promising outfielders including Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, which makes acquiring Kemp a bit unnecessary.
Kemp is an asset to any team when healthy, but the Red Sox cannot afford to trade away their best pitcher for a player who carries with him a large contract and has had a string of injury issues over recent seasons.