The Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles have discussed the parameters of a trade that would send left-hander Erik Bedard to the Dodgers for a package that includes 23-year-old outfielder Matt Kemp, according to a source familiar with the talks.
The Orioles are in a rebuilding mode after 10 consecutive losing seasons. By making Bedard available, they are hoping to take advantage of a thin free-agent market for pitchers in order to stock up on position players and return to contention in the tough American League East within a year or two.
Bedard has won 28 games the past two seasons, last season striking out 221 hitters in 182 innings before a strained oblique shut him down. He is arbitration eligible this winter and is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.
The Dodgers have again made pitching a priority after last winter losing Greg Maddux in free agency and signing Jason Schmidt to a three-year contract. Schmidt pitched 25 2/3 innings before undergoing shoulder surgery. It is questionable whether he will be ready for spring training. The rotation currently includes Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Esteban Loaiza.
It is unclear who would join Kemp in a trade with the Orioles, but the Dodgers are a popular stop for teams looking to upgrade with young and inexpensive talent. Third baseman Andy LaRoche, left-hander Clayton Kershaw, right-hander Jonathan Meloan, first baseman James Loney, outfielder Andre Ethier, infielder Tony Abreu and infielder/outfielder Delwyn Young are the most popular requests.
The centerpiece likely would be Kemp, the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder who played all three outfield positions in parts of the past two seasons with the Dodgers. He has power, speed and throws well. In 98 games last season, Kemp batted .342.