Future Sox/Love Sounds?: Matt Kemp
As is customary in the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, rumors have dominated much of the discussion in the baseball world (well, rumors and the Sheets-Zambrano matchup tonight in Milwaukee which is inexplicably not on national television). And as you may imagine, quite a bit of it is focusing on the Red Sox and their famously mercurial leftfielder, who, as you may have heard, is presently at loggerheads with team management.
Certain things we don't need to tell you - Manny does this every year, the Red Sox know they can't replace him, this time it seems different, blah blah blah. We think Manny is less irreplaceable than he used to be - there is evidence that he's in a decline phase, and while that decline phase will still be better than a lot of the league, it does mean that he can be mostly replaced for less of a pure-dollars cost, which could free up some payroll to shore up other areas of the team. But all that is a discussion for the offseason. We only think he should be moved now if they can also acquire a comparable replacement, and the chances for that are dwindling, particularly now with Mark Teixeira on his way to... well, he's heading to Fenway, but he'll be joining the Los Angeles Angels and not the Red Sox. (And that's a bad thing for the rest of the league.)
All that said, one scenario has piqued our interest. Essentially, there are two NL contenders for whom such a move would make sense: the Mets and Dodgers. And unfortunately for the Mets, they have precious little to offer in return - Fernando Martinez is a great prospect, but he's essentially all the Mets have down there. So we have a situation where need and return match up pretty well in the Dodgers, who, according to reports, are willing to move either Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or both. If the Red Sox can get either of those guys for the cost of Manny and eating his salary, we'd say go for it. Those guys are young and filled with potential. Their offense may never equal that of Manny Ramirez's, but they can still be damn good. The Red Sox could also then flip a package involving either one of those two or <gasp> Jacoby Ellsbury to Pittsburgh for Jason Bay or (and this is admittedly much less likely) to Colorado for Matt Holliday. A Pedroia-Youkilis-Ortiz-Bay-Drew-Lowell-Kemp-Varitek-Lowrie/Lugo lineup doesn't sound too shabby.
Pipe dreaming, sure. But that's what this week is for.
POST SCRIPT: Incidentally, we're also hoping there's something to this Taylor Teagarden stuff.