LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has said publicly that he will listen to offers on his outfielders, two baseball sources said that talks with the Red Sox regarding Matt Kemp had not advanced to the serious stage and appear unlikely to do so.
Exploratory talks had occurred on both the baseball operations and ownership levels between the two sides, the same teams who a year ago August pulled off a megatrade for Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. Kemp is still owed six years and $128 million on his current deal, which makes any trade with Boston problematic, and he also underwent shoulder and ankle surgery in October.
Still, Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, said Monday night he believed “something was brewing,” even if it didn’t involve the Red Sox.
Both general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell reiterated Monday that they are comfortable with the team’s outfield as presently constituted, with rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. penciled in as the Opening Day center fielder, replacing Jacoby Ellsbury, and right fielder Shane Victorino available to play center if the need arises.
“We’re very comfortable with Victorino as the other option in center,’’ Cherington said. “The way our roster is constructed right now, unless it changed, I’m not sure we’re really set up to have another platoon at a position. If we had two center fielders on the team, for example, we’d have to take a player from somewhere else. Unless the shape of the roster changed, I think there will be an everyday center fielder.’’
The Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders in Crawford, newcomer Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Kemp, who led the National League in home runs with 39 in 2011, falling one homer short of being a 40-40 man (he had 40 stolen bases), and was second in the MVP voting to the later-discredited Ryan Braun. They also have an up-and-coming center fielder in 21-year-old Joc Pederson.
Kemp undoubtedly would be untouchable if he had stayed healthy and replicated that performance, but the past two seasons have been cut short by injuries, with Kemp having surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder after each of the last two seasons, and also undergoing surgery on his left ankle in October, 13 days after his second shoulder surgery.
Stewart said that Kemp just recently began weight-bearing exercises on the ankle, will start hitting in January, and expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
"There have been a lot of questions about his health, but he'll be ready to play," Stewart said. "He's worked hard to get in shape and get over these offseason surgeries."