Yesterday brought baseball fans a pitching gem from Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore, and news about Matt Kemp and Jason Heyward, some good and some bad.
Yesterday, I received a call from another owner in the UBA league congratulating me for winning the league this year, and we discussed some offseason trade talk, the 2012 #1 pick in the NL-only league minor league draft, and Matt Kemp amongst other topics....it was mostly trade talk. The owner asked me when Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp becomes a free agent. I responded after the 2012 season, but I don't see him becoming a free agent, as the team and MLB cannot allow him to leave Los Angeles. The team suffered from a huge decline in attendance, and they have to sign him this offseason to a long term deal.
When I got home, I saw the Dave Stewart, Kemp's agent, did what most agents do in the offseason before their client becomes a free agent. Stewart announced that he would not talk contract extension once the 2012 season begins. MLB and the Dodgers have a meeting in the courts on October 12th, and the judge on the trial announced yesterday that he will seek for a quick trial:
Gross said an early resolution of issues in the bankruptcy case will allow the team to use the offseason to prepare for the 2012 baseball schedule.
This sounds positive for Dodgers fans. Anyhow, the Dodgers may have to break the bank to sign Kemp this offseason. I can see him asking for a contract bigger than Carl Crawford's contract with the Red Sox.
More offseason fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:
The Braves announced last night that outfielder Jason Heyward is not guaranteed the right field starting role in 2012. Wow. This is really huge news. David O'Brien interviewed Braves GM Frank Wren and asked him about Heyward:
Q. What’s your response to the rumor that the Braves have discussed trading Jason Heyward?
A. We’ve never had one discussion about trading Jason Heyward. That’s the furthest thing from our mind. That’s never come up. Nobody’s contemplated it. Nobody’s talked about it. I’m not sure where that came from. The reality is Jason made some progress this season; he’s got to continue to make progress. And he’s going to be in a battle unless he continues to progress at a good rate. It’s not a given he’s our right fielder. We’re going to go into the offseason (keeping) in mind that we’ve got to have offensive production from right field. And we didn’t get that this year.
Could they make him available this offseason? I doubt it, but you never know. It sounds like Wren is lighting a fire under Heyward and getting that message out real early.
Here is an absolutely amazing stat on Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen courtesy of TrueBlueLA. In 13.2 innings pitched in September, he struck out 32 of the 52 batters he faced, and 32 of the 41 outs were via the strikeout. Can you say future closer?
It appears that according to Mark Zuckerman at CSN Washington, that Bryce Harper's performance in the AFL will help GM Mike Rizzo prioritize his offseason needs:
This will be a good test of Harper's progress, since the soon-to-be 19-year-old will be competing against the best Class AA and AAA talent out there. Most AFL prospects are on the verge of reaching the big leagues. If Harper performs well on a daily basis out there, it could signal how close he is to arriving in Washington. If he struggles, perhaps it's a sign he still needs more seasoning at Class AA.
Zuckerman goes on to say that Harper could be ready by midseason, so the Nationals may step back from their pursuit of a center fielder, with the thought that Jayson Werth could move to center field when Harper is ready.