Latest Padres Rumors Involving Matt Kemp and Derek Norris

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As the Padres head off to Spring Training, they are still in some talks to possibly trade Matt Kemp and/or Catcher Derek Norris, according to speculation by FoxSports.com Ken Rosenthal. Moving Norris makes more sense given their earlier off-season trade for Christian Bethancourt and incumbent backup Austin Hedges, but moving Kemp might further demoralize a San Diego fan base that hasn’t had a lot to cheer for since acquiring Matt Kemp 14 months ago.

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When I wrote 3 months ago that the Padres should consider trading Kemp, I was met with lots of criticism. At this point I still think trading Kemp would be a bad idea overall, but the Padres should certainly listen to offers. Already their future outfield is looking bright with the addition of Manuel Margot and development of Hunter Renfroe, but the current state leaves much to be desired.

While I’ll concede that Melvin Upton Jr.ZLINKPULL::100002 last year, I do not trust him to man center field all season long. I would be much happier seeing him play sparingly but give Travis Jankowski more opportunity in center field and put Jon Jay in left field and give Alex Dickerson or Jabari Blash more looks. Some of that will get squared away in Spring Training, with Blash having a lot of pressure to prove that he belongs on the major league roster even just to start the season, let alone stay there all season as a Rule 5 Draft Pick.

As for Kemp, he is still owed $72M over 4 seasons but is getting older and had poor defensive metrics in right field last season. He is 31 years old, but might fit well with an American League club down the road unless of course the DH comes to the National League which could really help the Padres in that respect.

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Norris is the incumbent starter for the Padres and still cheap at around $3M this season. The problem is the Padres now have two former top prospects as catchers and playing the odds that between Austin Hedges and Christian Bethancourt one of them might be able to steal the starting job away from Norris which would give them a powerful trade chip at the deadline this summer. If it doesn’t happen – then Norris still has two more arbitration eligible seasons left which would keep him cheap.

Though trades this late in the off-season aren’t common, after his Opening Day Eve trade last year for Craig Kimbrel, we know not to count anything out with General Manager A.J. Preller. Is one more trade coming down before Opening Day 2016?

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