If you're an Orioles fan who's been dreaming about Matt Kemp in orange and black, the time has come to wake up and embrace the reality of an outfield that currently consists of Alejandro De Aza and David Lough. The Baltimore Sun reported on Tuesday that according to multiple industry sources, the O's were no longer in the chase for Kemp.
In a surprising twist, the O's chief concerns about Kemp were health-related. That's actually not surprising, because we all know the Orioles reputation for this kind of thing. In the case of Kemp, the concerns are not unfounded. Kemp only played in 106 games in 2012 and 73 games in the 2013 season. The Sun notes that Kemp has had multiple shoulder procedures as well as surgery on his left ankle, which appears to be the biggest red flag to the team.
On top of that, the Dodgers were asking for either Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy as part of any Kemp trade, and also the Dodgers were not willing to pick up any of the $107 million still due to Kemp over the next five seasons. He'll make $21 million in 2015 and $21.5 million in each of the four seasons after that, according to Cot's Contracts.
Despite batting .287/.346/.506 in 150 games in 2014, Kemp's value according to things like WAR was dampened by his performance in the field. The Defensive Runs Statistic put him at -23 runs in about 1200 outfield innings. The 326 innings he spent in center field, his primary position for most of his career, put him at -12 runs.
That sort of thing would be a bit less of a problem for the O's, who've already got Adam Jones in center field, but it's still a reason to give them pause before trading an important young player for a guy they'd be on the hook to pay nine figures.
It's always possible that, as the trade market changes, the Dodgers demands could decrease. After all, the O's were once told by the Astros that there would be no Bud Norris trade without Gausman or Bundy. A month later, the trade happened without either of those players.
The Sun reports the most likely trade destination for Kemp is San Diego. If that falls through, maybe they'll come back to the O's telling a different story. If not, well, you can be sure Dan Duquette is checking in on every other available outfielder right now.