While it’s been a relatively quiet offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they pulled off one of the more notable transactions this winter by unloading the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy to the Atlanta Braves for Matt Kemp.
The acquisition of Kemp was nevertheless shocking, considering that he was traded by the current front office to the rival San Diego Padres just three years ago. But by taking him back from the Braves, Los Angeles achieved its goal of shedding enough short-term salary to stay beneath the luxury tax threshold of $197 million for the 2018 season.
In the wake of the trade, it was immediately speculated that Kemp may ultimately be flipped to an American League club, where he could spend most of his time as a designated hitter. While that hasn’t been the case just yet, the Dodgers have reportedly targeted four teams as potential landing spots for Kemp, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
Someone close to the situation suggested the Dodgers have targeted “three or four” potential landing spots, though it isn’t immediately known what they are. One rival said their best hope may be to include some very good prospects along with Kemp. One rumor had Texas as a potential spot, but someone close to their situation responded “probably not.”
While it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Kemp would eventually be traded to another team, general manager Farhan Zaidi recently conceded that there’s a growing possibility the 33-year-old will report to Camelback Ranch as a member of the Dodgers.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, a longtime teammate of Kemp’s, expressed excitement about the prospect of Kemp remaining with the organization, citing his offensive skills that could carry a team.
Kemp’s market is obviously limited, given his defensive deficiencies, unfavorable contract and the plethora of free agents that remain unsigned. He’s owed roughly $43.5 million over the next two seasons, so the Dodgers may have to sweeten the pot and include a well-regarded prospect to consummate a deal.