5 Reasons Matt Kemp Should Be Chicago Cubs', Theo Epstein's First MoveOctober 18, 2011
5 Reasons Matt Kemp Should Be Chicago Cubs', Theo Epstein's First Move
It looks like the Chicago Cubs may have to wait a little longer to make it official with the Boston Red Sox in their negotiations over general manager Theo Epstein.
Once the World Series comes to a close, the sides should have come to a decision, and Epstein should be ready to start to get things going on the North Side.
When Epstein does come into the Cubs organization, he is going to have to address many key issues. The Cubs need to be fixed wherever they can. One of the first places Epstein can begin would be addressing the outfield.
It is no secret that Alfonso Soriano is inefficient, and with the trade of Kosuke Fukudome during the season, the Cubs will need to find themselves an everyday outfielder. So who could that guy be?
Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp.
Kemp will be entering his final year with the Dodgers, and with all the issues surrounding the team, it would be wise of them to unload the talented player for some prospects and cash before they likely lose out on him in 2013.
Here are five reasons why Matt Kemp should be general manager Theo Epstein's first big move.
The Cubs Need an Outfielder
Along with first base and potentially third base, the Chicago Cubs need to address the major hole in their outfield.
The Chicago Cubs currently have everyday starters Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd, while they fill the other hole with a rotation of Tony Campana, Tyler Colvin and Reed Johnson. Johnson is a nice veteran piece, but none of those three guys have proven to be or could be considered an everyday starter.
Along with that issue, comes the quality of Soriano and Byrd. A year ago, Byrd was considered the most consistent and well-balanced hitter on the Cubs. 2011 wasn't as kind, but it was also a year full of injuries that sidelined Byrd for quite some time. Soriano, though, is just way too inconsistent on a regular basis. Actually, the only thing he is consistent at is being inconsistent.
If the Cubs were to bring in Kemp while keeping around Soriano and Byrd, they would at least be able to up their talent in the outfield. The question is would Byrd would be involved in any deal revolving around Kemp.
Kemp is a very consistent outfielder with a career fielding percentage of .985. He has played all three positions as well, so that is a plus.
The Dodgers Can't Afford Him so He Will Likely Leave
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a mess right now. With the whole McCourt divorce essentially ruining the Dodgers and putting them on somewhat of a spending freeze, it is unlikely that they will be able to come up with the type of money that could sway Matt Kemp to stay any longer than he has to.
Kemp comes off as a stand-up guy, but in the end, money talks, and it isn't likely he is going to take any type of hometown discount during the prime of his career.
The Chicago Cubs are a big market team, and they could easily afford Kemp, especially with some big contracts potentially coming off the books in Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano.
Kemp only made $7.1 million in 2011, so expect him to want to bring in a big paycheck when he is finally able to.
Kemp is going to be going through arbitration this winter, and I don't think anyone can see these two seeing eye to eye.
He Has the Bat the Cubs Need
Matt Kemp is coming off of an incredible 2011 season. In 161 games, Kemp's batting average was a career high at .324. While doing so, he also belted 39 home runs and 126 RBIs.
Kemp has the bat that any team will want, so it isn't like he is some secret player that no one expects to see great things from.
At Wrigley Field, Kemp could be a beast. While Dodger Stadium is shorter in some areas in the outfield, Wrigley is consistently shorter since it doesn't have so many angles.
In a potential batting order, hypothetically, of Starlin Castro, Prince Fielder, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Kemp, the Chicago Cubs could be one of the most dangerous lineups in the league.
That is also considering that the Cubs won't bring back Ramirez, which isn't entirely out of the picture just yet. Money will definitely be a factor as the Cubs of course don't have unlimited funds.
The Cubs Won't Be Rebuilding, They'll Be Contending
Imagine if the Chicago Cubs can land Prince Fielder in free agency and bring Matt Kemp over in a trade. I don't imagine the Cubs being in a rebuilding process at all.
The Chicago Cubs, first of all, are going to need new management, and Theo Epstein is a great start. This organization needs to be rebuilt, mostly on its image and philosophy.
In 2011, the Cubs were sitting around with two lame ducks in general manager Jim Hendry and manager Mike Quade. Hendry was fired halfway through the season, so he wasn't likely to put in any real effort to help the Cubs, and honestly why would he? Following Hendry's dismissal, Quade should have assumed that his time would be almost up too considering the Cubs pathetic season and that someone new was going to take over the GM position.
If Epstein is able to make moves for Fielder and Kemp, while bringing in a solid manager, how could things really go wrong?
Of course, the pitching needs to be addressed, but the Cubs don't have the worst young pitchers. They are just extremely raw, but with 2011 under their belts, they could be a whole different animal come 2012.
Epstein Needs to Make Big Moves Because That Is Who He Is
Theo Epstein didn't get to where he is today by making small moves. Yes, he did develop Boston's farm system, and many of Boston's great players came from there, but he also went after the big-time players.
Epstein is the guy who brought in Josh Beckett, David Ortiz and Curt Schilling. Those guys were big-time players, and they were reasons why the Red Sox were able to win two titles.
In 2010, Epstein brought in Adrian Gonzalez, J.D. Drew and Carl Crawford. Look, I know the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs in 2011, but they were still one of the most dangerous teams throughout the regular season.
In Boston, Epstein never had a losing season. That is saying a lot about a first-time general manager. He has proven time and time again that he knows how to put together a great team using all different types of pieces.
The Cubs are not going to get anywhere quick by waiting on potential talent. They need to build around that potential with seasoned players, and Epstein will likely make that happen.
Epstein isn't being brought in to develop the Cubs three or four years down the line. He is here to make things happen now. Otherwise, the Cubs wouldn't likely be making their move now when they could get him without any compensation in 2012.
More Cubs Articles by Jeff Chase:
Epstein Deal Getting Ridiculous
10 Major League Players the Cubs Could Give to Boston
5 Managers Theo Should Go After
Why Theo Epstein Will Be a Good Fit in Chicago