The Yankees in fact contacted the Dodgers and asked about Kemp in late November, but nothing ever came of it and the team focused on the free agent market instead, which lead to the team signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Kemp ended up not being traded and still remains on the Dodgers.
That could very well change though, as the Dodgers are currently trying to move Kemp this summer as Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported, especially with his desire to play everyday and his desire to be a center fielder, although he would prefer being just an everyday player and open to being traded.
Heard Mets trying hard to move Bartolo Colon, which isn’t exactly a surprise. Also no surprise: Dodgers trying hard to move Kemp.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnobler) July 22, 2014
The Yankees offense is in need of major upprades and sparks due to their inability at times to generate runs; (it took them 13 innings to get just one run last night and 14 innings to get a second run) and currently, they've watched their regular starting right fielder Ichiro Suzuki turn into what he was last year; a shell of his former self and not an everyday player, yet due to Carlos Beltran being relegated to DH duties because of his elbow issues and Alfonso Soriano being designated for assignment earlier in the month, Ichiro got more playing time.
For a while, it worked, as he hit .357 in April, but then he's steadily declined each month, hitting .286 in May, then .257 in June and now .250 in the month of July, which has dropped him to just a .280 hitter with no home runs and 11 RBI; not exactly the kind of production you'd want out of your starting right fielder and why the Yankees are still in need for help, especially if Carlos Beltran can't return to the field this year. With their situation in right field, would it interest the Yankees to try and pursue Kemp again?
In 91 games, Kemp is hitting .269 with eight home runs and 37 RBI; numbers which are down from the normal production he used to put up when he was fully healthy and an MVP candidate. But even with the down numbers, he's still a better offensive player than Ichiro at this point who at 40 is a fourth outfielder being forced to start everyday and could use a change of scenery away from Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, Michael Kay from the YES Network talked about how Kemp is exactly the kind of player the Yankees need to look into for this season and for the future on his ESPN radio show.
"Let me tell you right now, Matt Kemp is the kind of player the Yankees and Brian Cashman need to trade for. Yes, he's dealt with injuries and hasn't been the same player he once was, but the 2014 version of Kemp is a lot better option starting in the outfield than Ichiro Suzuki is. He's owed a lot of money for the next couple of years, but if the Dodgers are willing to help pay for some of his salary and won't cost the Yankees that much as far as prospects go, then the Yankees need to aggressively try and trade for him."
Kay is around the team on a daily basis being the Yankees play-by-play announcer, so he does have a pretty good feel for what the team needs and what the team could be looking for as far as trade targets go. While Kay isn't exactly Brian Cashman's second-in-command, he might hear whispers or rumblings on what the Yankees might want or be looking for. Or Kemp could simply be Kay making a suggestion as far as an observer goes.
If the Dodgers were willing to chip in a lot of Kemp's salary ($21.5 million a season until 2019) and didn't ask for top prospects in return, what would the Yankees have to lose as far as adding Kemp goes; especially if the contract were being paid for by someone else? Maybe he finds that old MVP form playing in Yankee Stadium and in a new lineup.
The Yankees do have three outfielders set for the next three years, but with Carlos Beltran's elbow issues, there's a chance that he could end up being shifted to play full-time DH next season and might need a regular right fielder. Having Kemp around could solve that issue if the Dodgers are serious about wanting to move him and looking for a taker; even if it means paying for it. If Los Angeles is willing to pay for him to leave, that could benefit the Yankees need for help on offense.
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