Could the Chicago White Sox become an eventual landing spot for Matt Kemp?
There’s no evidence anyone wants to trade for Kemp – including the White Sox – but once he’s released, well, he looks like he could possibly help out a team or two, including the White Sox. In better days for Kemp (many, many years ago), the White Sox liked him and spoke to the Dodgers about a possible trade. And Kemp has made an impression this spring after a disastrous finish to his season in Atlanta last year.
There’s no evidence the Dodgers have found a trade market for Kemp, but as a released player, he could work in a couple places – including the South Side of Chicago – as a short-term DH. He has reportedly lost 40 pounds, and so far he’s fitting into a clubhouse that seemed mostly happy to see him go in a trade a couple years back to the rival Padres.
Though no one with the White Sox has admitted new interest, Chicago makes some sense – but probably only if he’s released first. The Dodgers are a creative bunch (the trade to get Kemp ingeniously pushed them under the 2018 luxury-tax threshold, as they discarded more in 2018 salaries in the deal, which was their entire purpose of that transaction).
Kemp hit a home run in his spring debut against the White Sox, who share a spring facility at Camelback Ranch with L.A. (so Kemp wouldn’t have to move his stuff very far). So far, the Dodgers haven’t figured out a way to package Kemp (perhaps with a top prospect or two?) and unload some of the $43 million he has to go on his contract through 2019.
The White Sox have done as good a job as anyone in adding prospects via trade the past few years, and since they are no threat to go over the tax threshold, it isn’t totally crazy to think they could consider such a trade. But it would be much cleaner and easier to wait for Kemp to be released, which seems like a real possibility at this point. The word upon the Dodgers’ trade for Kemp is that they would either trade him or release him, and if nothing comes through on the trade front, a release would seem like a possibility.
It’s theoretically possible LA could carry him into the season, but that seems like a long shot considering that was never the intention of the trade, they have outfielders (barring injury) and he’s a DH. He could be in line to platoon with Joc Pederson in left field on the off chance he stays.