Matt Kemp does not want to be traded, according to his agent, Dave Stewart. But Stewart said Kemp understands why the Los Angeles Dodgers could move him, and that his preference — if it happens — would be to join a winning team.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has said he is open to trading one of its outfielders but is not shopping any of them. Yasiel Puig is highly unlikely to be moved. Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are more realistic targets, Kemp perhaps the most realistic of all.
The Seattle Mariners have expressed interest in Kemp, according to sources who spoke with FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.
The Texas Rangers also inquired about Kemp at the recent general managers’ meetings, sources said, but the talks failed to gain traction due to the Rangers’ concerns about Kemp’s health and the remaining six years and $128 million on his contract.
Stewart, a former major league pitcher, said he has discussed the possibility of a trade with Kemp.
“Nobody wants to have their name thrown around with all the different teams,” Stewart said. “In our conversations, what we’ve come to is that if it does happen, the only thing we can hope for is that he goes to a team with an opportunity to win. That’s first and foremost, if it does happen.
“He understands the nature of the game. It just goes with the territory. (The Dodgers) have a surplus of outfielders. He’s not saying this, but I am: Out of the four guys, the one who has more value, especially if he comes back the way he thinks he will, is Matt.
“It might be an opportunity for the Dodgers to fill some gaps and improve their team. So if it does happen, all we would hope is that he gets the opportunity to play for a winner.”
The larger question, though, is whether a trade involving Kemp is even possible.
Kemp, 29, underwent two operations at the end of the season — arthroscopic surgery to clean up his left shoulder and a more serious procedure on his left ankle.
Stewart said Kemp will be ready when the season starts, but Colletti told reporters at the GM meetings that health concerns might preclude him from trading any of his outfielders.
Crawford, 32, missed more than a month with a strained left hamstring last season. Ethier, 31, played with a sore lower left leg in the postseason.
“Until we know they’re healthy, it’s hard to move anybody,” Colletti said.
But the Dodgers, sources said, have told prospective suitors, “If you’re interested in one of the outfielders, make us an offer.” Talks likely will intensify in the coming weeks, with teams engaging in more expansive trade discussions.
For Kemp, whose contract does not include a no-trade clause, the possibility of leaving the Dodgers is unsettling, Stewart said.
“He’s not comfortable with it. Matt wants to be a Dodger. That’s where he wants to play, where he hopefully wants to end his career,” Stewart said. “On the other side of the coin, you can only control the things you control — and that’s to go out and play.
“What’s more discouraging is that his name is out there a lot. We don’t know if the Dodgers are shopping him or if teams are asking for him. We don’t know what the circumstances are. That could be discouraging. But it could be encouraging, if he ends up in the right situation.”