Matt Kemp trade rumors: Dodgers remain in contact with multiple teams about OF

Lisa Blumenfeld

With four outfielders that deserve to start everyday, the Dodgers wouldn't mind unloading some of Kemp's contract.

The Dodgers have remained in touch with several teams, including the Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers, about a possible Matt Kemp trade, reports Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

Los Angeles, of course, has four outfielders on their roster who all deserve starting time and all of whom are signed to big contracts. Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig will all be fighting for playing time with Kemp if all four are retained this offseason.

Kemp is the most expensive of the four, as he is still owed $130 million on the extension he signed prior to the 2012 season. That deal will run for six more seasons, through 2019. Ethier is still owed $71.5 million for four years, Crawford at $88.5 million for four years and Puig at $38 million for five years. Of the four, Puig is the least likely to be traded given his relatively cheap contract and phoenomenal production in his rookie season.

Kemp, 29, broke out in 2011 with a .324/.399/.586 batting line and 39 home runs to go with 40 stolen bases. He finished second to Ryan Braun in MVP voting that year. The next season, he hit for a .906 OPS in 106 games, but missed two months due to hamstring injuries, and also injured his shoulder and knee later in the year.

He had offseason shoulder surgery, which led to struggles at the outset of the 2013 season. A right hamstring injury at the end of May cost him a month, but he soon returned to the disabled list with pain in his surgically repaired shoulder. An ankle injury at the end of July and hamstring tightness cost him most of the remainder of the year. Overall, he played in just 73 games in 2013 while hitting .270/.328/.395 with just six home runs.

The Mariners have been mentioned often as a potential landing spot for Kemp. They have money to spend this offseason and are looking at outfielders, as evidenced by their interest in free agent Jacoby Ellsbury. The Rangers have also been in play for an outfielder and could take on his salary. The Red Sox are a little more iffy. They traded Crawford to the Dodgers just two seasons ago and have been devoted to avoiding overpriced long-term deals.

What the Dodgers would receive in any given trade will likely depend on how much of the contract they are willing to pick up. If the acquiring team were to assume nearly all of the remainder of the deal, the return to Los Angeles would likely be much lighter than if the Dodgers still took on a significant portion on the $130 million he is owed.

Los Angeles may have to wait until high-priced free agents like Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo fall into place before teams make serious overtures about Kemp or any of the other outfielders.

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