Shopping in LA: Matt Kemp or Mark Trumbo?

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Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp has been bouncing around the Mariner-sphere for a few days after Jon Morosi tweeted this:

Now, don’t get me wrong, that would be awesome, but mostly because it’s not my money that the M’s would be spending. I like Matt Kemp, and after the last few seasons of injuries and sub-expected batting, Kemp has moved back from the forefront of the Dodgers’ franchise. It makes sense that the Dodgers are listening to offers for him as it’s a chance to dump some salary while the market on Kemp will still return some highly rated prospects.

Sep 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) sits in the dugout prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The downside of this deal is that it’s going to cost money, and a lot of money. Kemp is signed in LA through 2019, and still has $128 Million left on his contract. The Mariners front office needs to be exceptionally cautious with Kemp, it’s foreseable that he could flop.

Any deal for Kemp would obviously be a gamble; pessimists will look at him and say his best years are behind him, and he’s going to be a $130 million dollar Franklin Gutierrez. It’s certainly a possibility, he might be injury prone after ankle and shoulder surgery. If we’re going to be paying that kind of money for a guy, I expect him to play pretty much every day. It’s going to get exceptionally harder to trade him the longer he plays less than 110 games per season.

On the flip side, Kemp certainly has the potential to return to his 2011 numbers. He batted .324/.399/.586 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs that year, and finished second in NL-MVP voting.

Matt Kemp would slide into the Mariners center field position, and likely fill the 3-4 hole in the batting lineup. This would bode well for a Mariners outfield that still has a lot of question marks surrounding it. As for batting, if the Mariners can manage to score a decent lead off hitter, Kemp would definitely be an asset to the Mariners roster that cashed in on only 12% of their base runners in 2013.

The Verdict:

Matt Kemp is expensive. If he gets back to his MVP worthy form, then he would definitely be an asset to the Mariners, but if he continues to miss games with injury and can’t capitalize on healthy time, then he’s going to be a $130 million dollar mistake. I’d be cautious to bring him in.