Matt Kemp: Close to deal with Dodgers

Updated: November 15, 2011, 2:30 PM ET
ESPNLosAngeles.com

Most Valuable Player candidate Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the verge of agreeing to a new eight-year, $160 million contract, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney on Monday.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Kemp was scheduled for a physical Monday at 10 a.m. PT before the deal, which has no incentives or option years, could be made official.

The deal was expected to be announced on Monday afternoon in Compton, where Kemp and outgoing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt attended the dedication of a new youth baseball field as part of the Dodgers Dreamfield program, but no confirmation was made.

"We're getting close but nothing is official yet," Kemp said. "Everybody knows that I want to stay a Dodger, be a Dodger and end my career here. That's up to the Dodger organization."

Both Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti have expressed optimism recently that the sides could come to terms.

"Everybody knows that I want to stay a Dodger, be a Dodger and end my career here," Kemp said. "That's up to the Dodger organizaiton. I'm here for the long haul."

Even though the Dodgers are in bankruptcy protection, the team is able to sign Kemp to a big contract if it has approval of the bankruptcy court or Major League Baseball.

"Dodgers transactions with its players are in the ordinary course of business," Bruce Bennett, the Dodgers' lead bankruptcy attorney, told The New York Times. "The relevant provision in the bankruptcy code makes a distinction between transactions in the ordinary course of business and those not in the ordinary course of business."

The size of those transactions don't have to be small, Bennett told the newspaper. In fact, he said they "can be quite large."

The deal would make Kemp one of baseball's highest-paid players and it would be the largest in team history. The previous record was set in 1998 when pitcher Kevin Brown signed a $105 million, seven-year deal.

Kemp would be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season and would be a hot commodity after leading the NL in home runs (39) and RBIs (126) this past season. He made a run at becoming the majors' first Triple Crown winner in 44 years before finishing third in the NL in hitting (.324) and also stole 40 bases, leaving him a home run shy of becoming the fifth player in big league history to join the 40/40 club.

Kemp, 27, will find out next week whether those numbers are good enough to win the MVP.

"I still want to win the MVP," Kemp said. "That's something I want to do."

In order to come to terms on a new deal, the Dodgers would have to buy Kemp out of his final winter of arbitration eligibility and his first winter of free agency. Through that process, he would stand to get a massive raise off the $7.1 million he earned in 2011, the final season of what originally was a two-year, $10.95 million deal that ballooned to $11.1 million with incentives.

Eight years would be unusual for the Dodgers. During the six years Colletti has been in charge, the team has been loathe to sign players to deals of longer than three years.

"This is a beautiful city. We've got great fans and they've been nothing but supportive of my career," Kemp said. "The Dodgers are the ones that gave me a chance to come up to the big leagues and follow my dreams. I want to give them every opportunity to sign me, just like they gave me a chance to be up here in this position, I'm going to give them a chance."

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson and Ramona Shelburne was used in this report.

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