It could be a bit of gamesmanship on his part, but Matt Kemp's agent believes that he will be traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason. The Tigers don't appear to be a likely destination at first glance, but I think we're all past the point of doubting anything that could happen this offseason.
Who is he?
He isn't even the best center fielder in his own city, but that's about the only bad thing we can say about Kemp. Despite struggling through a couple of injury plagued seasons in 2012 and 2013, he is a career .293/.350/.493 hitter who is capable of putting up MVP caliber numbers. He broke into the big leagues as a 21 year old in 2006 and will be 29 years old in 2014. He already has four 20-homer seasons and three 30-steal seasons under his belt, but put up a career-worst .723 OPS in 2013.
Why should we care?
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.
Why should we stay away?
I don't know if the injuries are as much of a concern as his price. Kemp is due to make $128 million over the next six seasons. This may look like a bargain if the Jacoby Ellsburys of the world keep getting paid more and more, but can the Tigers afford to add Kemp to their payroll and keep Miguel Cabrera and/or Max Scherzer as well? The moves orchestrated by Dave Dombrowski already this offseason suggest that the Tigers are close to their breaking point, and it would take some serious wizardry to make Kemp fit in their budget without jeopardizing the team's newly found financial flexibility.
Will he end up in Detroit?
I don't see this one happening. Not only is the payroll an issue, but the actual price to acquire Kemp could further jeopardize the Tigers' future. Sure, Dombrowski could pull off another superdeal involving Ian Kinsler, but I'm not sure I like the odds of lightning striking twice in one offseason.