After an MVP-caliber season, Matt Kemp is going to get paid this offseason. The only question is how much. The center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers has one more year remaining before hitting free agency, and is a prime candidate for signing a contract extension at some point this offseason. Kemp's agent, former major league pitcher Dave Stewart is optimistic a deal can get done.
"I don't think that it's going to be difficult, I really don't," Stewart told Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles. "I think we should be able to come to something. I have talked with Ned on a few occasions. We have covered some ground, and hopefully, we will be able to put this thing to bed soon."
Kemp made $7.1 million this season and stands to more than double that salary through arbitration in 2012. Kemp led the National League in home runs (39), RBI (126), runs scored (115), total bases (353), and adjusted OPS+ (171).
The fly in the ointment for the Dodgers is the pending sale of the team. Owner Frank McCourt is on his way out, and any kind of big ticket transaction like extending Kemp for six or seven years or signing a top free agent could potentially complicate the sale process, without knowing whom the new owner will be.
In fact, the Dodgers may be in limbo, as ESPN also reported the club "will not be able to bid on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols until the team is sold," and that the sale process could take four to six months.
Where this leaves the Dodgers on lesser-tier free agents remains to be seen, but I'm sure they will have the capability to sign some players. Just last Thursday the Dodgers re-signed free agent Juan Rivera to a one-year contract plus an option worth $4.5 million guaranteed.
Even with the unknown status of the Dodgers ownership, Stewart remains optimistic his client could sign an extension this winter. He told Jackson, "I have said it from the start and I will repeat it again, I don't think Ned would be approaching us about doing something if he wasn't capable of finishing this thing off."
Meanwhile, Dodgers fans wait, and hope.
For other Dodgers offseason news and notes, be sure to read True Blue LA.