The Boston Red Sox are mulling making a move for Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp as part of a trade involving Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, ESPN.com's Gordon Edes reported Sunday.
Edes reported Kemp could be the "major piece" in a Lester-centered trade, since the Dodgers do not want to give up top outfield prospect Joc Pederson. Since they have a surplus of outfielders already — plus Pederson waiting in the wings — the Dodgers have been aggressively trying to move Kemp, who has been oft-injured the past few seasons.
"If he's healthy," one top talent evaluator told Edes of Kemp, "he would absolutely destroy that ballpark [Fenway Park]."
Kemp is still owed about $118 million on a contract that runs through the 2019 season, which has been the biggest obstacle for the Dodgers in attempting to unload him. Edes reported it's likely the Red Sox would ask the Dodgers to pick up a "considerable sum" of the remaining money on his contract.
Almost three years ago, Kemp, who will turn 30 later this year, signed an eight-year, $160 million contract after a season in which he finished second in the NL MVP voting while posting a career-high .986 OPS. In the three seasons that have followed, Kemp's numbers have plummeted while he has battled serious ankle and shoulder injuries.
Kemp has expressed interest in a trade if it means he gets to return to playing center field full-time. For much of the past two seasons, Kemp has been relegated to part-time status, while splitting playing time with a crowded outfield that includes Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, and Scott Van Slyke. In 333 at-bats this season, Kemp is batting .273 with eight homers, 40 RBI, and a .768 OPS.
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