Tigers rumors: Detroit showing interest in Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp

Harry How

The Tigers appear to be performing their due diligence by inquiring on the possibility of acquiring All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp, who is expected to be traded by the Dodgers.

This afternoon it was assumed the Dave Dombrowski and the Detroit Tigers were done acquiring position players after signing Rajai Davis to a two-year, $10 million contract.

But, as they say, things change. In the Tigers' case, very quickly. Or this latest rumor could be little more than GM Dave Dombrowski doing his due diligence. I'm betting on the latter.

Regardless, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports are reporting the Tigers have talked to the Los Angeles Dodgers about their talented and believed to be soon traded center fielder, Matt Kemp.

At the start of the Winter Meetings, Kemp's agent Dave Stewart (yes, the former A's pitcher) stated he was convinced the Dodgers were going to deal the 29-year-old two-time All Star. Seems the Dodgers are definitely listening to offers.

But before anyone gets excited, disgusted or confused by the Tigers' actions, Morosi also issued a very large caveat.

In his ongoing series of possible Tigers' targets, Rob makes a case for Kemp as a Tiger.

When healthy, Kemp is one of the best players in baseball. He hit .290/.351/.496 during a four year stretch from 2008 to 2011 while missing just 11 games. This includes his 2011 campaign in which he was Mike Trouted out of an MVP award after falling a homer shy of being the newest member of baseball's 40-40 club.

But stumbling blocks abound in regard to acquiring Kemp. He's a health risk, coming off a pair of injury marred seasons. Kemp played in only 179 games combined over 2012-13.

Kemp, a career .293/.350/.493 hitter, is also owed $128 million through 2019, his age 34 season. Which to be honest, actually sounds semi-reasonable after seeing the ridiculously long and expensive free agent contracts being given to players of lesser talent than Kemp. But such a big dollar, long-term commitment would adversely affect the Tigers' chances of signing Miguel Cabrera and/or Max Scherzer to contract extensions, unless the Dodgers ate significant amount of Kemp's contract.

Let alone there's the fact it's unlikely the Tigers have players they are willing to deal which would entice the Dodgers into  a blockbuster trade.

When combined with needing to deal Austin Jackson (or another outfielder) in order to make room for Kemp, it means a match between the Tigers and Dodgers appears unlikely at best.

But keep in mind the Tigers have pulled off more surprising swaps at the Winter Meetings. No one saw a deal for Cabrera coming either.

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