This is a great time for the Red Sox to make a bold strike in the trade market that will likely help solidify their line up for the next five years.
Kemp is a middle of the order, right handed power hitting outfielder that not many teams have. And, he is not just a home run/strike out type of power hitter like Dunn.
Yes, I know that his last two seasons have been limited by injuries, but injuries are a part of the game. If a young guy played all 162 games last season, there is no guarantee that he plays even one in 2014.
It is also nice to think of home grown talent like Bradley being able to fill center field for the next 7 years, but if there is a better option available Bradley may just have to wait his turn for another year.
It will not be the worst thing for Bradley to start the season in Pawtucket and stay prepared/ready in all three outfield spots if Victorino, Kemp or Nava get hurt. He does not have to have a guarantee in center field for 2014 just because he has been groomed to eventually replace Ellsbury.
Kemp is a good center fielder and will easily transition to left field, then to first base and then to DH if/when necessary and still provide quality offense for at least most of the 6 remaining years on his contract.
The Dodgers will have to pick up 5 M of his salary, but they already know that when they first thought of trading him. And, they know that they will have to do the same if they want to trade either Eithier or Crawford if they are indeed serious about thinning out their current outfield salary issues.
Trade them Renaudo (promising young pitcher), Betts (their second baseman of the future) and Morales who can help them either as a starter or reliever in 2014. Perhaps someone may need to be either added to the deal or substituted for one of the three guys I mentioned.
For those of you who want to keep all of the young pitching in Renaudo's age group, please remember that statisitically not all of these guys are likely to make it in the major leagues and also likely that none of them are probably going to make serious contributions in Boston in 2014. Renaudo may eventually make it to the Hall of Fame, but that is the risk of trading any young player for a better chance to win now.
Betts is an intriguing prospect, but since it appears that he only is a second baseman, he is not likely to play much second base in Boston for the next 6-7 years.
Morales is a hard throwing lefty who can either start or relieve, and is not very expensive either.
If a fourth guy needs to go in this trade, I would consider adding Brents since it does not appear that he has a future in Boston and even less of a future if a power hitting outfielder (like Kemp) is acquired.
Kemp is fairly young (younger than Ellsbury) and the Sox do not appear to have any sure shots to become middle of the order thumpers beyond Ortiz (who is only signed for one more year although he may play further than 2014 if he plays well again in 2014) and Napoli (who is only signed for 2014 and 2015) unless you can predict that Middlebrooks and Bogaerts will be able to bat third and fourth when Ortiz and Napoli depart. If you think that Gomes is a regular, middle of the order hitter I would disagree (although he brought some nice things to the 2013 team). He is a .250 type hitter who has some power but nothing like Kemp. Also, Gomes is only signed through 2014 and is not a quliaty fielder.
Nava, Carp, Pierszinski and others are also not really regular, middle of the order hitters either, in my opinion. Middlebrooks and Bogaerts may not be three through five hitters this year either. If the Sox bring back Drew, he is also not a middle of the order hitter.
The Sox offense is likely to drop off in 2014 without Ellsbury in the leadoff position. Guys like Carp and Nava might not replicate their 2013 performances. Oriz may also not replicate his 2013 stats as he is going to be 38 years old in 2014. Pierzinski (sp) may or may not balance off what Saltalamacchia did either.
For the luxury tax issues of adding Kemp at 15 M the Sox would have to move probably two of their three older, high salary starting pitchers, but it seems that they are already poised to make such moves and give guys like Workman a chance to start. Sending Morales in the deal would save some money but certainly not enough (by himself) to stay below the tax line.
If Granderson can get 4 years at 60 M, I would be more than comfortable with giving Kemp 6 years at 90 M as he is better suited to Fenway, played about the same number of games as Granderson last year, has better spits against lefties and righties, is younger than Granderson and since the Sox are in the AL, he can eventually transition to the DH position as mentioned above.
I think that even if Kemp is not completely ready to start the season on April 2, he is still worth the gamble.