Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What to do With Matt Kemp

In Part 1, I looked at his career outside of 2011 and determined that while Matt Kemp is still a capable fantasy player, he’s still significantly overvalued based on his brilliant 2011 season.

So if you have him, what should you do?

It may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but even if you really want to get rid of him, don’t go out and look for a trade. Actually, don’t go out and look for a trade, especially if you want to get rid of him.

If one finds you, then don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. But keep the fact that you’re looking to trade him to yourself for a while. At most, head to your league’s message board and say something like this:

Willing to trade Matt Kemp if I can get the right deal. More than willing to have him as my outfielder, though, so not looking to deal him.

If your league has a trade block feature, put him on there but again, make a point in some note that it only means you’re willing to move him, not that you’re looking to.

If you initiate a trade that involves Kemp, make it a good one. Try to see if you can package him and your fourth or fifth best pitcher for a first or second round talent. What’s the worst that happens there?

If you trade Kemp now, you want to trade him to someone who gets stuck on big name guys — the kind of guys who were drafting Chase Utley in the first three rounds until 2013.

There are plenty of players like that in fantasy baseball, and some of them are even good owners. They just overvalue big name guys, constantly thinking that they’ll come back from an injury-riddled season. If you have someone in your league like that who’s a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and is prone to homerism, that’s even better.

If you are really eager to get Kemp off of your team, these are the people that you want to go after. Let someone’s homerism or tendency to go to the big names get the better of them and get something good for him. After all, if Kemp does find his 2011 form, you don’t want to feel completely taken by it, do you?

What I’d really suggest you do is wait, wait, and wait some more. Again, Kemp won’t even be off of the DL for a few days. If you read Part 1, you definitely got the impression that I’m not that high on Matt Kemp this year. Nowhere in there did I say that he won’t have a good few weeks, or even a hot month or so. I didn’t say that because I don’t believe that. My concern with Kemp is that with his injuries and the outfield depth of the Dodgers, he won’t sustain 6th-7th round fantasy value over the course of a full season. I’m pretty dang sure that he can produce big numbers in the short term.

If you can’t get one of the aforementioned people to bite, this is what you want to wait for. Let the season get going a little bit. Let other outfielders get hurt, or under-achieve a little bit. Most importantly, give Kemp a chance to bolster his value a little bit. It’s a very long season, the chances of him being completely shut down all year are remote.

But what if that never comes? What if weeks and even months go by without Kemp ever having a nice run to bolster his trade value?

  1. That’s not likely to happen.
  2. If you deal Kemp in a desperation move right now, it will likely be for a guy (or guys) that you could absolutely live without. It’s possible that you may end up missing out on a breakout guy this year, but not likely.
  3. If we really get to a point where Kemp never has a value-bolstering run and your trade deadline is approaching, then you can look for more of a desperation deal.

Matt Kemp is not the only person this logic applies to. You should do this with any big name looking to regain some of his past glory, or any highly ranked player who’s struggling.

Buy low and sell high. It’s a standard practice in economics and absolutely applies to fantasy sports as well. You can’t do anything about what you paid for Matt Kemp (or where you drafted him), but you can do something about when you move him.

What about concrete terms?

  • Question 1: What should you get for Kemp?
  • Answer: Right now, I wouldn’t trade him for anything less than I’d trade a third rounder (or better) for.
  • Question 2: How long should you wait before you force more of a desperation deal?
  • Answer: I never like desperation deals. But don’t even consider making anything that resembles a desperation deal until we get to June. How patient you should be depends on how well you’re doing, but nothing close to desperation until June. Look at it this way, if I’m completely wrong about Kemp and he does come back to his 2011 form, you’ll probably get a sense of it by June. By then, you may not want to make a deal.

The name of the game in fantasy baseball is patience. It’s the key to getting the maximum trade value out of your players and ultimately the key to winning.

Matt Kemp may be a guy that you overreached/overpaid for, but you can’t do anything about that now. His potential value is immense and everyone knows it. At some point, someone will bite and give you great real value for what he can potentially do.

From this point on, having Kemp on your team is a good thing — a very good thing.


Tags: Fantasy Baseball Trades Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp MLB OF

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