MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers Extend Matt Kemp, Prince Fielder Next?

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Matt Kemp (R) #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by Dee Gordon #9 after hitting a two-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 8-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Yesterday afternoon brought Dodger fans the best news they have heard in a few years: they signed outfielder Matt Kemp to an extension. The new contract will keep Kemp in Dodger blue for the next 8 years for $160 million. I couldn't be happier as some thought the Kemp negotiations could drag into the start of spring training, or possibly the start of the 2012 season, even after Kemp announced that he did not want to discuss his new contract once the season started. Well, Kemp is set for the next 8 years, and for the rest of his life, with this contract. 

Eric Stephen from TrueBlueLA wrote this piece on Kemp's new contract, and included in his article was this tweet from Bill Shaikin, the baseball writer from the LA Times:

Bill Shaikin

McCourt says  can pursue any free agent they wish. MLB confirms no formal or informal restriction preventing Dodgers from doing so.

More on this and Keith Law's take on Kemp's new contract after the jump:

Here is ESPN's Keith Law on Kemp's new contract:

The first five years of the deal cover what we'd traditionally consider Kemp's peak years, ages 27 through 31, and you could easily look at his 2011 season, with upticks in walk rate and isolated power, as the beginning of that peak period. He may not produce at that MVP level again -- I wouldn't doubt it, but it's a high bar to reach -- yet doesn't have to do so to justify this deal; something better than 2009 (.297/.352/.490) would do it, and I feel pretty good about him exceeding his 2009 production for most of the next five or six years.

Fantasy owners will take "something better than 2009" for the next 5-6 years in a heartbeat. Kemp just turned 27 on September 23rd, so he is just hitting his peak years as a major league hitter. I don't see him replicating his 2011 season in 2012, but can see a 30-30 season from him. 

Getting back to that tweet from Bill Shaikin, here are more quotes from Dodgers soon to be former owner Frank McCourt on whether the Dodgers can pursue a premium free agent this offseason:

McCourt also said -- and Major League Baseball officials confirmed -- that there is no formal or informal restriction against the Dodgers pursuing premium free agents such as Prince Fielder.

How he will run the Dodgers for now: "I want to continue to make the right decisions for this franchise for as long as I own it. That's my responsibility."

Whether there is any reason General Manager Ned Colletti would not be able to pursue a premium free agent: "No, there's not."

 

I wrote this piece a little more than a week ago asking whether the Dodgers should pursue Prince Fielder this offseason, and now my dream may come true. Included in that piece was an excerpt from a Buster Olney column:

In light of that recent history, it will be interesting to see whether Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti gets the green light from Major League Baseball to go after one of the two biggest free agents in the market: Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. The next Dodger owners won't be in place until sometime next season, in all likelihood, too late to order the pursuit of Pujols or Fielder -- two players who, if added, would immediately alter the perception of the team as a rotting franchise.

The McCourt quotes above seem to confirm what Olney was speculating: the Dodgers can pursue premium free agents this offseason, and Ned Colletti has already stated he wants to add a middle of the order bat. 

Could that be Prince Fielder? We should learn more over the next few days as the GM Meetings in Milwaukee kick off, and SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish will be all over the news coming out of the Brew City.

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