By Pat O'Rourke @patorourke_29 on August 2, 2014
It won't happen until the offseason, if it does at all, but Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp could very well be traded to the Boston Red Sox. A player who is not nearly the same guy who was one home run shy of having a 40-40 season (40 homers/40 steals) in 2011, he is still a very good player, and one who can help the Red Sox return to contention. Here are five reasons why Ben Cherington should pursue the outfielder.
Kemp hasn't matched the production from 2011 -- .324/.399/.586 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 115 runs scored -- but that doesn't mean that the kid still can't do it. Finally healthy and playing regularly after injury-plagued 2012-13 seasons, Kemp is hitting .315 with an .884 OPS, six home runs and 31 RBI since the beginning of June. One would assume those numbers would improve by getting out of those cavernous NL West yards.
Kemp has five years and $107 million remaining on his deal after the 2014 season, a contract the Red Sox have the payroll flexibility to take on. If the Red Sox can eat more money, then the Dodgers return might not be as great as it would had they been forced to eat most of the contract. Plus, the Dodgers have freed the Sox of some bad contracts over the past few years. It may be time to return the favor.
The Red Sox have plenty of trade chips to give the Dodgers in return for Kemp. A player like Will Middlebrooks, who would bring much-needed power to the Dodgers lineup while supplanting Juan Uribe at third, could be a player Ned Colletti covets. Of course, there's the seemingly bottomless pitching prospects from Anthony Ranaudo to Matt Barnes to Allen Webster to Brian Johnson to Henry Owens.
David Ortiz won't be around forever, and he isn't getting any younger. Kemp could provide the long-term replacement for Big Papi as the third or fourth hitter in the lineup that you can build your offense around.
If Kemp were to come to Boston, he'd have to play left field, which has been the position given to the newly-acquired Yoenis Cespedes. The good news, however, is the Cespedes can play right field with his arm and athleticism. All he needs to do is become more disciplined and fundamentally sound defensively.
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