Grandal and Kemp Lead the Charge by Going 6 for 6

It sounds funny to mention Grandal and Kemp in the same sentence because it was not that long ago that they were traded for each other. Yesterday, they were a version of the Bash Brothers as Yasmani Grandal takes back his starting job and Matt Kemp takes over in LF.  If they both stay on this path of hitting, it could be a long season for anyone that doesn’t have “Dodgers” on their chest. Of course, it is a long season – it’s not a sprint, but a marathon.  It’s still good to see them both doing well.

With the Dodgers’ depth, everyone is going to get plenty of rest.  I can see Kike playing 4 or 5 days a week… at different spots:  3B, SS, CF, LF… wherever. He is a unique talent who brings high energy to every game. Barnes will play a lot. Toles will play a lot. Utley and/or Farmer?  That remains to be seen.  However, mull this over: It is possible that Kemp and Grandal hit 70-80 HR between them.  Think about that one…

When Matt Kemp was traded for Yasmani Grandal, he was a prima donna  and a bad inflence in the Clubhouse.  He has recently admitted that it was hard playing for losing teams and that led to immense fattness and bad attitudery. He has slimmed down and has found a new attitude, if fact, dare I say he is becoming a team leader?  An older, mature and chastened Matt Kemp seems to be beloved in this clubhouse by all of the key players.  While not the burner he once was, he is still has above average  speed.  Yes, I saw the double drop in front of him yesterday.  Maybe Toles would have had it.  Maybe Taylor would have had it if he and Kemp had played together more (he stopped short so as to avoid a collision) or may it was not catchable.  It probably depended upon your perspective.

I do not think Matt Kemp will be anywhere close to the worst left fielder in baseball this year.  In fact, I believe the Dodgers have quit trying to trade him and that he may retire as a Dodger (now you are thinking that I have really lost my mind). Remember, that I have never been a Matt Kemp fan and I have personally seen what Kemp can do to a clubhouse.  But, I am going to suggest that Matt Kemp is a different person than when he was a Dodger in his previous life and I am becoming a Matt Kemp fan.

I would love to see him go from the Outhouse to the Penthouse.  I also believe he can put up huge numbers if he stays healthy and that comes from playing smart and not running into walls or dogging it around the bases.  It would be premature to predict a MVP-TYPE season for Matt Kemp, and while many think he still has Zero value, I think you may be forced to change your mind.  Matt Kemp is the starting Left Fielder and will be hitting 5th against MadBum.  Yes, I know Kike rakes against the Bum, but starting Kemp and hitting him 5th on Opening Day is symbolic of the committment the Dodgers have to him.  Not only is he on the team, but he could be one of the best players on it.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 28 Comments

  1. The thing that gives me hope for Kemp is that he knows that he has 3 or 4 young guys breathing down his neck. I don’t believe his attitude will truly be any better if things don’t go his way. It bothered me when he recently said that he didn’t know where the talk of him being a bad clubhouse guy came from. I guess that doesn’t matter because the Dodgers won’t have a problem pulling the plug on him if his attitude goes sour. Knowing Toles, Joc, Verdugo, aNd Kike are ready to take over should keep Kemp on the right track. Having said that, I’m rewarding the guy who hit 3 bombs in the NLCS and with the positive track record against Madbum. It can be Kemp’s first real test of his new found attitude.

  2. We are in for a long season if Kemp is one of the best players on the team. I’d rather see a platoon of Hernandez and Toles.

  3. Matt Kemp has always been a highly overrated defensive player even in his golden glove years. Just my opinion but….I ain’t the only one.

    1. I totally agree with that. However, that was back when he had catsup, mustard and relish all over him. Now, he’s just a plain Dodger Dog.

  4. 70-80hr between Kemp and Grandal combined. I’ll take the under on that one. Not that I don’t think they’ll be solid, but for them to have 70 hr (35 each) it means they’d be playing quite often. And on this team? LF and C will be platooned moreso than other spots, especially because we have so many good players at those spots!

  5. kemp can’t be as bad as franklin Gutierrez, right?

    that’s the bar i’m setting for him to clear

  6. I’m not sure why so much concern about Matt’s defense. I know pitching and defense win play-off rounds. I think this team is plenty strong to make it to the play-offs aided by Matt’s bat and not much deterred by his defense. I think they will get there and then can work the defensive angles to pull it off. During the season if defensive replacements are required late in games, just do it.If he struggles offensively I think we are pretty much agreed that he will be gone to clear the way for younger players.

    Matt’s defense on balls he gets to is not as bad as one might think. With a league fielding percentage of .985 during his career he has a percentage of .983 over 12 seasons. Kike’s in the OF is .986, Andrew Toles is .971, Puig’s is .986. I understand that they have smaller samples but a larger sample doesn’t guarantee a higher fielding percentage. I also understand that Matt might not get to some balls they get to but he is now built to get to more and wanting to get there.

    Dodger fans were enthralled when Manny Ramirez came aboard (not this Dodger one) and he owned a .978 Fld% along with a poor throwing arm. Plus he had been a cancer in Boston. How comes Matt doesn’t get a little love?

    Dodger fans got enthused to get Yasmani Grandal for Matt even though Yasmani has served a 50-game suspension for using a banned substance. Matt said some things he probably should not have said and no doubt regrets them and was not a great clubhouse guy. That was then, this is now. His sins are forgivable, just as Yasiel’s indiscretions on and off the field were/are. Thank goodness we forgave Andrew for his issues.

    I think that with the way the team is managed, Mark is correct that everyone will get playing time to stay fresh and game ready. Playing as he is, Matt Kemp is an asset, either to the Dodgers or in an eventual trade chip.

    1. When the Dodgers traded for Manny, I said “I’d rather lose without him than win with him.” and I was in the pressbox when Matt Kemp hit a Grand Slam in the first inning on the day he was suspended!

  7. Well said DC – while I wasn’t privy to any of the “clubhouse activity” Kemp gets blamed for, I do remember him having to take a lot of undeserved public flack from Nick Colletti and Jeff Kent, which, at the time did not seem justified. I’m happy to have Kemp in left field to start the year. He will be significantly more serviceable to the Dodgers, than McCarthy, Kazmir, or Gonzales. Besides which, he helped the team get under the luxury tax limit. That alone makes me happy he’s here. Now, if he can add 25-30 home runs and 80-100 RBIs, that’s just frosting on the cake for me.

  8. Worthless ? He has already helped the Dodgers save money and get rid of deadwood. That’s worth something. It was declared he wouldn’t even make it to ST.
    Well ok he won’t make the 25 man roster. No way he starts in LF on opening day. He’s worthless. But hey, he’s playing pretty good for a guy not at ST. (Toles is my guy, but come on cut Kemp some slack)

    1. It looked like he can pulverize pitches in the strike-zone.
      It also looked like he and the Dodgers are aware of that fact, because Kemp’s had a good eye this Spring.

      1. if nothing else, we might have the designated hobbler for our 2018 Kirk Gibson moment. let’s just hope trayce Thompson can draw a walk immediately before him . . .

  9. Here is my projected lineup and the most number of Home Runs each player has hit in a year:

    1. Taylor – 21
    2. Seager – 26
    3. Turner – 27
    4. Bellinger – 39
    5. Kemp – 39
    6. Puig – 28
    7. Grandal – 27
    8. Forsythe – 20

    Not many teams can boast they have a guy at every position who has hit at least 20 HR in a season.

  10. Since I think Kemp will get most of the at bats, I think it would be better to let Toles play everyday in AAA to stay sharp and ready, if he is needed.

    Because I don’t see him doing as well, if he isn’t getting consistent at bats, because I think he is more a full time player.

    And I like Toles a lot, so I am just thinking about the team, as well, as Toles.

    I am not surprised at all about Kemp.

    Like I already said, I think Kemp was really hurt after he was traded, but his pride wouldn’t let him say that, so I think that has something to do with his behavior, on these other teams.

    I am not making an excuse for Kemp, I just think this is the truth.

    And the fact that Roberts is the manager now, makes a huge difference for Kemp, and all of our players.

  11. MJ
    Roberts does make a big difference. The way I see it is that Andrew Toles is an insurance policy for Seager. If Cory goes down we have Taylor at short and Tolsie in Center. I love the depth of this organization. It is a different time and I can’t compare the Boys of Summer to this team. We have so many options and so much talent. I went to my first Dodger game in 1958 and things have certainly changed. I just think that this is a very special time to be a Dodger fan.

  12. I understand that some on this site are upset that Utley is taking a roster spot from younger deserving player. Others feel his clubhouse presence makes him valuable to the team. Is there a chance he will have”an injury” that keep him in the dugout, but on the DL opening a position on the 25 man roster? Basically a coach making 1mil.

    1. If I were on the coaching staff, I would sneak in at night and put a bear trap on his foot!

  13. I have said everything I feel about Kemp and will say no more, he is on the Dodgers and will be the starting left fielder. As a Dodger, he deserves my support and will have it but be will never have my respect.

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