Are the Seattle Mariners Out on the Matt Kemp Trade Talks?


If what Ken Rosenthal is saying on twitter is correct, the ‘Matt Kemp traded to the Seattle Mariners’ rumors may soon be ceasing:

A.J. Ellis has been the primary backstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last three seasons, and in 93 games last season he hit .191/.323/.254 with 3 home runs and 25 RBI. The Dodgers may be looking to upgrade the catcher position offensively, and the San Diego Padres have that piece to dangle.

The Mariners of course have Mike Zunino, but he seems to be as untouchable as Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, while his offensive statistics still leave something to be desired.

If the Dodgers want Yasmani Grandal from the Padres for Matt Kemp, they will be getting a 25 year old under team control through 2018. Though his offensive numbers weren’t spectacular in his first full season with the Padres, he did hit .225/.327/.401 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 128 games. Naturally, the Dodgers expect those 49 RBI to skyrocket in Los Angeles as a part of a potent lineup.

The trade talks between the Dodgers and Mariners appear to have broken down due to the insistence of the Dodgers that either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton be included in any deal for Matt Kemp. The Mariners, who are very high on both pitchers, do not seem particularly inclined to deal them without being blown away by an offer.

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With the hard push being made between the SoCal neighbors, where does that leave the Mariners in regards to right field?

The free agent route remains an option, as the Mariners remain the favorite to sign switch-hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera, though sources say no signing is imminent. There are also a few other, less desirable outfield alternatives in Alex Rios and Jonny Gomes.

However, as I mentioned earlier today, the Mariners still have the pieces to make a trade for a Dodgers outfielder, maybe just not Matt Kemp. Scott Van Slyke is an intriguing possibility, as he mashes left-handed pitching (.892 career OPS) and is under team control for 5 more seasons. The M’s could trade one of their young shortstops and a young reliever to get the outfielder.

But if Matt Kemp is traded to the Padres, the Dodgers will inevitably become less likely to trade another outfielder.

At this juncture in the Winter Meetings, it seems the Mariners have cooled on trade talks regarding Matt Kemp and also Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves. They seem prepared to go into 2015 Spring Training with the team they have, and the front office is confident in the current roster.

The Mariners seemed to have cooled in negotiations with Robinson Cano last offseason before shocking the baseball world and signing the second baseman to a 10 year, $240 million contract.

Don’t expect the Mariners to make as big a splash this offseason, but if the team so desires another right-handed bat in the outfield, they certainly have the money and the trade chips to get one.