Commentary

Kemp, Ethier lead sell-high candidates

The Los Angeles Dodgers stars may have more value now than they ever will

Originally Published: July 13, 2011
By Jason A. Churchill | ESPN Insider
Andre Ethier & Matt KempAP Photo/Jae C. HongThe Los Angeles Dodgers have some tough decisions to make on Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

Every summer clubs make hundreds of phone calls and send thousands of text messages discussing potential deals, with each executive bargaining to get the best deal on the best possible talents. Some of those players will spend only a few contending months with the acquiring team, which means momentum is a key piece of the equation. In other words, the better the player is performing, the better the return.

There are a number of players that are currently performing at peak levels or carry quantifiable value that they may never again reach for a variety of reasons. That makes them candidates to be traded while their value sits at its zenith. Here are five of them:

Matt Kemp, CF -- Los Angeles Dodgers

Kemp has had one hiccup of a season en route to his All-Star status -- 2010 when he hit just .249, tallied 170 strikeouts and failed on 15 of his 34 attempts to steal. His other 556 career games, including the first 92 contests of 2011, have been played at a high level, but never higher than this season.

Blessed with every tool in the cabinet, Kemp has put it all together this season, entering the break batting .313 with the sixth-best on-base percentage in the National League and 43 extra-base hits, thrusting his trade value through the roof despite relatively poor reviews of his defense in center field.

The Dodgers' motivation for trading their best player starts with the 26-year-old's contract status. He's due to hit free agency after 2012 and will hit arbitration this coming winter after making $7 million this year. The Dodgers could draw interest from numerous clubs if Kemp is made available, and the haul could be plentiful. The Texas Rangers are one organization that may have the necessary young talent to land Kemp.


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