What If? With Mad Matt: Yankees Trade For Matt Kemp
By Matt Mirro
Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp has been on the trading block for quite awhile now. At one point during the 2014 season it seemed like Kemp wouldn’t make it past the trade deadline without being dealt. But despite countless rumors and rumblings, he was not traded and instead finished the season with a .287 batting average along 25 home runs and 89 RBI. He moved away from center field and shifted to the corner outfield before the season’s end and found his stroke along the way. Kemp once again finds himself being shopped this off season and there’s one team that could be very interested. That would be the New York Yankees and this weeks “What if?” is the most out there yet. Could the star outfielder possibly be headed to the Bronx?
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Here’s a trade I envision going down (Keep in mind the name above is Mad Matt for a reason):
- The Yankees take on the majority (or perhaps the entirety) of the $107 million dollars (About $21.5 million dollars a season through 2019) remaining on Kemp’s contract. They’re capable of taking on this kind of cash and it would lower Kemp’s value prospect wise.
- The Yankees send left-handed pitching prospect Ian Clarkin, top catching farm hand Gary Sanchez and reliever Adam Warren (Or David Phelps) to the Dodgers and receive Kemp. The Dodgers need a long term catching solution with A.J. Ellis heading into his age-34 season. They’d probably jump at the chance to acquire a pitching prospect like Clarkin and someone like Warren, or Phelps among other possibilities would help to shore up their bullpen troubles.
Kemp would likely play left field which causes a problem with Brett Gardner currently patrolling that spot and the Yankees have too many players in need of time as the Designated Hitter to move Carlos Beltran out of the outfield full time. So what else is there to do? Well (And let the angry groans begin) unfortunately that may mean the Bombers would be forced to trade Gardner. Yes, I have a scenario for this too! Bet you didn’t expect a two in one piece! You’re welcome!
- The Yankees send Gardner to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have cut ties with left fielder Ryan Ludwick and are looking for possible replacements. They had significant interest in Gardner last off season and even agreed to trade second baseman Brandon Phillips for him but the deal fell through. The Reds now need Gardner more than ever with Ludwick out of the picture and it’ll get the Yankees a decent return. The Yankees will also throw in a lower level prospect and some cash in this deal.
- The Reds send the 26-year old starting pitcher Mike Leake along with reliever Jumbo Diaz and utility man Skip Schumaker. Leake is young and skilled and would be an nice piece to the back end of the Yankees rotation. Diaz is a solid relief pitcher and would bolster an already lethal Bomber bullpen. Shoemaker is a very versatile player and would give the Yankees depth in the infield and outfield. Solid trade on all points for the Yankees.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve said it before… every move causes a ripple effect. Trading for a player like Matt Kemp means that other moves need to made along side it. In Yankee Stadium his 25 plus home run numbers would take a bump and now that he’s finally healthy he’d insert himself into the number three hole in the lineup. Kemp found a home in left field. He’s an above average fielder and would pair well with a superb defender in Jacoby Ellsbury, who will be in center field for the next six or seven years.
Kemp would be solid pickup for the Yankees. Yes, he’s expensive and can be egotistical at times but if the Dodgers are looking to dump his salary and talents on a team the Yankees should be among those pining for his services. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Brett Gardner fan but Kemp is a better overall player and would instantly improve the Yankees’ roster. Will any of this happen? That’s up to the big boys in the front offices. But for right now it’s always fun to wonder “what if?” Play ball, folks!