Matt Kemp on verge of signing record contract
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Good news, so hard to come by from the Dodgers for two years now, is set to arrive like an unexpected tidal wave.
Matt Kemp is on the verge of signing a long-term deal with the Dodgers that would be the largest contract in team history. Multiple reports have pegged the deal at eight years and $160 million.
The Dodgers are scheduled to unveil a new Dream Field this afternoon in Compton and Kemp, who was not originally scheduled to attend, has been added to the ceremony, where the contract could be announced.
Fox Sports first reported Monday that Kemp and the Dodgers were close to finalizing a deal that would be the seventh-largest contract in baseball history. The Dodgers’ previous contract record was the $105-million deal they gave to Kevin Brown back in 1998.
The Dodgers, of course, don’t have a great recent history of hanging onto their young stars. Mike Piazza was traded in his prime and Adrian Beltre left the Dodgers as a free agent at age 25.
Kemp, 27, is coming off a monster year, and locking him up would provide a measure of stability to a team in bankruptcy and undergoing a protracted ownership change.
The contract does not have to be approved by the bankruptcy court, though a creditor could raise an objection.
But why would they? The Dodgers cry out for a face to their team, and in Kemp and left-hander Clayton Kershaw, they have a pair of young superstars to build around.
It is a stunning amount of money but hardly out of line with the contracts issued last season to less talented players (Carl Crawford, seven years, $142 million; Jayson Werth, seven years, $126 million).
You could look at it as a going-away present from owner Frank McCourt, but it is also a smart business decision. The Dodgers are worth more with Kemp locked up then potentially losing him to free agency after the season. Details of any contract amount being backloaded are currently unknown.
Last year Kemp put up MVP numbers, leading the National League with 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 115 runs, while batting .324.
— Steve Dilbeck