Dodgers Trade Rumors: Jon Lester In, Matt Kemp Out? L.A. Linked To Possible Deals Before Deadline

 @GP_IBTimes on July 30 2014 10:22 AM
Matt Kemp Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp could be at the center of a trade involving Boston Red Sox lefty starter Jon Lester. Reuters

The Los Angeles Dodgers padded their National League West lead to three games with an 8-4 victory Tuesday, and the team is hoping to create more distance in the standings as the non-waiver trade deadline nears.

Manager Don Mattingly’s squad is trying to keep the San Francisco Giants at bay, specifically by finding another ace to go along with a rotation that already includes 12-game winners Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Many would already call that rotation formidable, with the Dodgers fourth in the NL with a team earned-run average of 3.36, first in strikeouts (897) and holding opposing hitters to just a .243 batting average. However, L.A. is looking to capture its first NL pennant in 26 years and an extra starter for the postseason could put them over the top.

A report from the Boston Globe put Los Angeles in the running for Boston Red Sox lefty starter Jon Lester, who will reportedly sit out his scheduled start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

 

Eight teams have been linked to the 30-year-old, who is scheduled to be a free agent at the conclusion of the season. Since Boston drafted him in 2002, Lester rose through the ranks and is now unquestionably the team’s ace with a career-best 2.52 ERA, 149 strikeouts and 10 wins in 21 starts this year. The Red Sox are 12 games back of first place in the American League East and appear to be out of the playoff hunt unless they can find a bat to help an offense that’s 24th in the majors in runs scored and 20th in team average.

 

According to ESPN Boston, the Red Sox have been scouting Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp for the past month, but he’s owed $107 million over the next five years, which could complicate his addition in a deal for Lester. Kemp, formerly a five-tool player with blazing speed, has struggled with injuries in recent years, but he’s hit better than .300 over the last two months and he’s batting .452 in his last eight games. On Tuesday, Kemp also socked two home runs against the Braves, a sign he might have rediscovered his form and reason enough for Boston to consider a trade. The Dodgers have won four straight, and six of their first 10 games since the All-Star break, so they might hesitate to break up a winning squad.

Expressing a love for Boston and its fans, Lester has also said publicly that he would even consider re-signing with the Red Sox in the offseason. The two sides reached an impasse during contract negotiations, with the team refusing to offer the $110 million to $120 million contract Lester desires. It’s believed the Red Sox are hoping Lester’s love for the franchise could be enough reason for him to stay.

L.A. and Boston have been part of blockbuster trades before. Back in 2012, the Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and took on nearly a quarter billion dollars in salary. In return, Boston received first baseman James Loney and four prospects.

The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m. EST/ 1 p.m. PST.

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