Matt Kemp Trade Rumors: Assembling Perfect Trade Packages for Mariners, Tigers

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 6-1.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

This year's winter meetings in Orlando, Fla., wrap up on Thursday, and while there have been a handful of big trades to this point, perhaps the biggest bat on the market still remains available in Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners were the three main teams linked to the center fielder heading into the meetings, but according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports on Tuesday, the Red Sox are no longer in the mix.

It's looking less and less likely that a deal involving Kemp goes down before the meetings come to a close, but the groundwork could continue to be laid in the days ahead for a deal to be made before the start of spring training.

So, with the Tigers and Mariners looking like the two most likely landing spots, let's take a look at what those two teams could offer up in a potential deal for the All-Star outfielder.

Detroit Tigers

With the Tigers recently signing Rajai Davis to a two-year, $10 million contract to join Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter in the Detroit outfield, a move for Kemp may be less likely than it was at the beginning of the offseason.

CF Austin Jackson
CF Austin JacksonJ. Meric/Getty Images

Any move for Kemp would likely mean dealing Jackson as well, and the Tigers were reportedly listening to offers on him earlier this offseason, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The Dodgers already have a crowded outfield, which is why they're shopping Kemp to begin with, but a three-team deal that involves Jackson going to that third team could make sense.

The list of teams in the market for an outfielder has shrunk with the signings of Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury, but if Kemp winds up going to Detroit, that could leave the Mariners looking elsewhere for an impact center fielder.

The following three-team deal could make sense for everyone involved:

Dodgers Get: SP Jonathan Crawford (DET), SP/RP Casey Crosby (DET), 3B Stefen Romero (SEA), IF Chris Taylor (SEA)

Tigers Get: CF Matt Kemp (LAD)

Mariners Get: CF Austin Jackson (DET)

Crawford would give the Dodgers a front-line pitching prospect, while Crosby is essentially big league ready and could help out in the bullpen while also providing rotational depth should someone get hurt.

3B Stefen Romero
3B Stefen RomeroChristian Petersen/Getty Images

As for the guys coming from Seattle, Romero gives them a big league-ready third base option, and Taylor adds to their pool of infield depth with some solid upside.

The Tigers get their man in Kemp, adding his bat to the middle of a lineup that lost Prince Fielder. And if he can stay healthy, he'd be a huge pickup. Dealing Crawford hurts, and a package like that likely means the Dodgers wouldn't kick in much, if any, money for Kemp, but it's still a win for Detroit.

Jackson is not Kemp, but he's a solid fallback option for the Mariners as they continue to pursue offensive upgrades and look to make a serious run at contention after already signing Robinson Cano this offseason.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are the wild cards of the offseason, having landed the market's top bat in Robinson Cano on a massive 10-year, $240 million deal, and all signs point to them being far from finished this offseason.

SP James Paxton
SP James PaxtonGregory Shamus/Getty Images

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times said one executive was convinced the Mariners' next play was a trade for Rays ace David Price, while Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the team was still in on Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz, among others.

The general idea here is that the Mariners seem ready to pull the trigger on another big deal before the offseason is up, and picking up Kemp would certainly qualify as another big deal.

A deal for Price would likely cost the Mariners top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, which has understandably kept them from pulling the trigger on said deal to this point, but they should be able to acquire Kemp for less.

What exactly would it cost to acquire the five-tool outfielder for Seattle? Here's one potential trade package:

Dodgers Get: SP James Paxton, 2B/SS Nick Franklin, 3B Stefen Romero, RP Tom Wilhelmsen

Mariners Get: CF Matt Kemp, Cash

The above trade is assuming the Mariners say no to including third baseman Kyle Seager in any deal, as he would certainly be of interest to a Dodgers team that has a gaping hole at the hot corner. If they were to including him, something like Seager and one other midlevel player would likely be enough to get a deal done.

Instead, a package built around James Paxton, who went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.917 WHIP in four starts last season, seems like the more likely scenario.

Franklin has become expendable with the team's acquisition of Cano, and he would give the Dodgers some insurance should Cuban defector signing Alex Guerrero prove unready to step immediately into the starting second base role.

Romero gives the team another big league-ready bat that is capable of playing third base, while former Mariners closer Wilhelmsen would give the team another quality arm in the bullpen. If the Dodgers don't bite on Wilhelmsen, another high-upside bullpen arm like Danny Farquhar or Carter Capps could be the arm included.


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