The hot stove season can often make for strange rumors, and even stranger bedfellows. That's been the case this week with speculation of a possible blockbuster trade between the Padres and the hated Dodgers, with outfielder Matt Kemp as the centerpiece. With the rumor picking up steam in recent days it's worth looking deeper into what it could mean for the Friars.
What would the Padres get in Kemp, and is it worth the haul it would take to bring him down the 5 freeway? The potential and skill set on Kemp is undeniable. He has all the abilities of your prototypical "five tool" player, and has put up MVP quality numbers to back it up at times. However, since finishing as runner-up to Ryan Braun in the National League MVP voting in 2011 the focus on Kemp has shifted from the time he has missed from the diamond, not what he has done on it.
From 2008-11 Kemp missed a total of 11 games. In the three season that followed Kemp has missed a total of 157 games, due to a multitude of injuries. Kemp did have a bit of a resurgence in 2014, batting .287, with 25 home runs and 89 runs batted in over 150 games. But are those numbers worth giving up what the Dodgers would likely seek if a deal was made?
Catcher Yasmani Grandal would almost certainly have to be included, as would one of the Padres young arms. Kemp has always had a potential upside that makes general managers salivate, but at 30 -ears old has his ceiling been reached? He has hit 30 or more home runs only once in his nine year career, surpassed 100 RBIs twice, and batted .300 or better only three times.
Would the Padres simply be buying into the potential in Kemp that seems to have never quite been realized? There is no doubt Kemp embodies what the Padres and their fans have been clamoring for. He would give the team, in desperate need of offense, a shot in the arm. And the fans would likely relish having the household name they have been hoping for. Although whether or not he would be enough to help the Padres climb the ranks of the NL West remains to be seen.
The belief is that the Dodgers would likely demand the 26-year old Grandal to head to Los Angeles in the deal. While the young Cuban has obviously struggled with issues off the field, moving him out of San Diego wouldn't be seen as a positive by everyone. The Dodgers likely paying a portion of the remaining $105 million on his contract might make the trade more palatable to all, however.
Dealing for Matt Kemp would likely end in one of two ways for the Padres; Kemp is emboldened by a change of scenery and returns to his MVP caliber form, or he remains an effective, but injury plagued player. For a team and a fan base desperate for excitement around Petco Park, however, rolling the dice on Kemp might be worth the potential for the right price. Kemp and potential...words that seem to be forever intertwined.