Five teams have emerged as the most serious suitors for Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp: Seattle, Detroit, Boston and two unidentified National League teams.
As trade talks between those five clubs and the Dodgers proceed, Kemp is beginning to lessen concerns about his recovery from ankle and shoulder injuries. He recently shed the walking boot he had been using for the left ankle that was surgically repaired in October. He has begun upper body workouts, which he had been unable to do before last season until January. He underwent a procedure on his left shoulder in October prior to the ankle surgery.
The Dodgers expect Kemp to be ready for spring training. They have been telling clubs they are prepared to play next season with Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig splitting 1,800 or so at-bats for three outfield spots. Both clubs have pursued Kemp with the idea that Los Angeles would kick in some of the $128 million owed to Kemp over the next six years.
Kemp, 29, was the runner-up for National League MVP in 2011 when he batted .324 and led the NL in runs, home runs, OPS+ and total bases and the majors in RBIs. That November, he signed an eight-year, $160 million contract that at the time was the largest ever by an NL player. Kemp played just 106 games in 2012 and only 73 last year, batting .270 with six home runs. He did not appear in the postseason as the NL West champion Dodgers reached the NLCS before losing in six games to the Cardinals.