Do You Think The Dodgers Still Want To Trade Kemp?

So far, this year, Matt Kemp is the Dodger’s MVP!  That’s quite a redemption for a player nobody wanted… who was supposed to just be a salary dump. Not many people even  expected him to make the team this season.  If the Dodgers couldn’t trade him (they couldn’t), it was expected that he would be DFA’ed (he wasn’t). I expected it and ever predicted it, not because I am clairevoyant, just because I know Matt Kemp a little bit. It’s no secret that I thought during Matt Kemp’s first tour with the Dodgers that he was an immature, moody brat (I am being kind), but it’s also no secret that Matt Kemp LOVED, I mean REALLY LOVED being a Dodger.

I believed that he would re-double his efforts and make the team… in fact I expected him to do well… maybe not this well.  I had no idea he would lose 40 pounds and show up in the best shape of his life.  What has not surprised me is that during Matt Kemp’ second tour with the Dodgers he has matured and is, by all accounts, a great teammate.  Old Man Kemp is his new persona as he has grown out of that moody brat stage.  Look at his stats:

  • 151 AB
  • 51 Hits
  • .338 BA
  • 6 HR
  • 25 RBI
  • .370 OB%
  • .536 SLG%
  • .907 OB%
  • 1.3 WAR

If he keeps it up, Matt Kemp could well be the starting left fielder in the All-Star Game.  Cody Bellinger will heat back up as he adjusts to how they are pitching him and Kemp will hit more HR going forward, but what is most encouraging is that Matt is taking what they are giving him and hitting it where it is pitched.  Young Dodgers take note!

Do you think the Dodgers would trade Matt Kemp now?  Hell no! They are hoping that he has one more year of this.  He’s still only 33 – he will be 34 next year.  He should have something left in the tank… especially if he continues to train and eat less, like he apparently has.  He has also played over 150 games seven times.  In 2016 he played in 156 games, so if you are counting on him being injured… that is not historically what has happened.  Right about now, Matt Kemp has went from the Outhouse to the Penthouse and I love a good redemption story.  Unlike in Tour 1, I am now a big Matt Kemp fan.  Even his defense has improved – he’s not a Gold Glover, but he won’t embarrass you either.  That’s all you can ask.  After another year of this, Matt Kemp might be mentioned in the same breath as other Dodger greats!

Give Credit Where It Is Due

  • Ross “Dodger Ace” Stripling!!!!  Can he keep it up?  He’s in a groove!
  • Kenley is back to 100% Kenley!
  • Don’t look now, but Chris Taylor’s OB% is up to .329 and climbing… ande he is tied for 14th in runs scored in MLB.
  • That horrid Pedro Baez has a terrible 3.52 ERA which is great compared to Dylan Betances (4.71), Andrew Miller (4.40), Ryan Madson (4.15), Alex Colome (4.15 – still want him?) and a bunch of other relievers.
  • Kike with another HR – all his hits are of the extra-base variety!
  • Daniel Hudson has to go down… Please!
  • The Dodger starters are 4th in team ERA WITHOUT Kershaw, Hill and Ryu, right now. Depth?  Nahhhh… just blind luck is what many will say.
  • The relievers have a ways to go, but are up from 29th to 17th.
  • I still think the Dodgers need another bat to make up for Corey’s absence!
  • Still 3.5 games back, but edging closer to .500.

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 29 Comments

  1. Might be to early for a trade, but I’d like to propose a 2 for 1. Trade Hershiser and Garciaparra for Kevin Kennedy so that we are not put to sleep with cliche after cliche and we would be treated with some great baseball stories during the game.
    Love the way the Dodger’s are coming around. I watch every game but we need a change in the booth.

  2. Orel and Joe Davis are doing fine together. Orel has earned the right to be here in my view.

    1. Writing as a fan who is probably less knowledgeable about baseball than anyone else in this group, I feel compelled to note that Orel and Joe are opening my eyes to aspects of baseball that I had never imagined existed. I can understand that more sophisticated fans may want and deserve something different, but I want to express my personal appreciation of their work. Not only are they knowledgeable, they seem to love the Dodgers without becoming unbearable “homers.” Listening to other announcers on the video highlights during half-innings on the MLB telecasts of the games only increases my appreciation of all the Dodger announcers.

      And I can’t believe that Orel will be 60 already later this year!

  3. Hanging here in Cleveland . What was once called the ‘mistake by the lake’ is actually pretty cool. Kluber vs. Altuve doesn’t get much better in my mind.
    I love him but I’d DFA Orel for Kennedy.
    Why isn’t Kennedy managing somewhere?

  4. I don’t care what Baez’s ERA is. He’s terrible. As is Hudson. Kudos to Kemp. Let’s hope he keeps the weight off and his body holds up.
    ~
    I think I might find powerless Joc more frustrating than old Joc. I’m not sure. I don’t care what the metrics say. I think Joc has looked good in LF defensively. He’s made a few plays this year that the new and improved Kemp wouldn’t have got to. I found some of the comments in April like Joc not working in the off-season on his swing to be absurd. He’s actually cut his K rate down the last couple of years. However, powerless Joc is nothing more than a #5 outfielder. Maybe a #4. It’s like he’s been neutered.

    1. Hawkeye

      Joc defensive numbers in center are not good, no one has said anything about Left.

      There was an article in the LA Times about how Joc had not put much of any work into his hitting in the last few years, in the off season.

      He even admitted this in this article.

      He did cut his strike outs down last year, but he also didn’t have good power numbers, and overall numbers last year, either.

      Remember he stopped hitting again, and was sent down?

      Because even though he cut his strike outs down last year, he couldn’t adjust and hit the ball the opposite way of the shift, so he was hitting into the defense to much.

      He is trying to learn how to adjust right now, and if he can put it all together, he will be a better hitter.

      He is a better team player on offense this year, because he is not trying to hit everything out, even when he has two strikes.

      He is trying to hit the ball the other way, where the defense isn’t, and actually, even though he hasn’t hit a HR lately, most of his hits have been extra base hits lately.

      You should look at the statcast sprint numbers for the team, you would be surprised.

      1. I’m talking about this past off-season. I know in the past he was constantly tinkering but still swinging for the fences. Hitting .245 with 1 HR doesn’t excite me. I keep looking for the power to arrive.

        1. Hawkeye

          Look at Joc’s slugging percentage in the last seven games, it will really surprise you, and surprise most.

          1. Hawkeye

            I was talking about even this last, off season.

            Joc really looked lost, most of spring training, this year.

            But I remember you said. you didn’t get to see many spring training games, this year.

  5. 21st best record in baseball but they’re on the move. Love what Kemp is doing, but the offense is still suspect. 5 hits last night with Kemp collecting 3 of them. I like Barnes’ OBP but his avg is mendoza like, Forsythe is still mendoza, Bellinger’s avg is dropping like a rock but we’re winning and everything is good in the world.

    Call me a “chicken little” and believe me I want to be wrong but this team still has too many offensive holes that will prevent them from long-term success, if they don’t get their offensive game plan in order. They need a consistent bat at 2b that’s not Forsythe/Utley. Just feels like the one through eight line-up is not competitive enough to churn out good/competitive ABs that lead to quick innings and poor baseball fundamentals like not hitting behind a runner, hitting a sac fly with a runner at 3b etc.

    I want nothing more than a 42-8 run so we can prove the baseball world wrong, but I remain highly skeptical this team has enough offense in its present format to make that run.

    1. I agree that the offense is not enough. I think Puig and Taylor will continue to improve, but Corey’s bat is sorely missed. The Dodgers have too many .200 hitters: Barnes, Kike, Utley, Forsythe, et al. At least two of those have to go away: either by trade or by improving (a lot).

      Honestly, I would put Barnes at 2B and lose Utley and Forsythe. The Dodgers need another bat and they HAVE TO have Cody return to form. He may sit a couple of games to let his head clear, but I have seen him adjust every year… on the fly. He will figure it out. I’m not worried about him. I’d call up another catcher not named Farmer (Smith) and play Kike and Barnes everyday for a while.

      Could Rios be the answer at 1B? He just came back from injury at OKC and is 2-5. He might be worth a look. He hit well in the Spring. Toles is also a possibility, but he’s probably a month away… or more. Verdugo? Maybe. It would appear that those are the main three options within the organization.

      The only way the Dodgers can get an established hitter is by taking on some salary and most importantly, years. A player like Votto, whom the Reds are on the hook for 5+ years is what it might take. The Dodgers can balance out the payroll by sending Forsythe and Joc back and getting cash for this year. I’m not saying Votto is the one, but someone like that.

      Short term, I would put Barnes at 2B and Kike in CF and roll with it. Let them get untracked.

      1. Mark, you are to Kike’ playing until he gets it going is to Doc playing Forsythe until he gets it going. In both cases, it will be a long wait.
        .
        The team needs Machado at short and Taylor at second. Trade Forsythe, Alvarez, Verdugo, and Lux. Get it over with. Hopefully Machado will not insist that he gets to choose the music, his locker, where the trash can can go in the locker room, and/or when and how long he is in the pre-game batting cage. He can have Muncy’s #13 though.

  6. I still wonder about the added muscle that Cody put on in the off season.

    That is something that is different from what he did, last year.

    Muscle will take away some flexibility, so I wonder where Cody bulked up at, and has that effected his swing, or the quickness of his swing?

    I was looking at the Boxscore last night, and at one time last night, Cody’s and Kike’s OPS were the same.

    But after Kike didn’t do anything the rest of the night, and Cody picked up a walk, Cody’s OPS ended up, higher.

    1. I did check to see where Cody mostly bulked up at, and it was his upper body, his legs, and his core.

      And that extra muscle in his upper body, and in his core, could have taken away some of his flexibility in his upper body, and in his core, that helped him to hit high fastballs, especially higher then his belt.

      He hit a high fastball last year, up by his neck, and he hit that ball out.

      But right now, Cody is having a lot of trouble hitting high fastballs, right down the middle of the plate, that are higher, then his belt.

      And Cody has always been a skinny guy, so I think that extra bulk, could be effecting, his swing.

      And Monday did say, it took a lot of flexibility, to swing like Cody does.

  7. The recent run has been fueled by great starting pitching and just enough offense. Look at the last 8 starts:
    Maeda-8IP-2H-0BB-8K
    Strip-6IP-4H-0BB-9K
    Bullpen Game
    Wood-6IP-3H-1BB-4K
    Buehler-7IP-2H-0BB-6K
    Stewart-4IP-5H-1BB-1K
    Maeda-6.2IP-2H-4BB-12K
    Strip-6.2IP-6H-0BB-10K
    This has left the BP with less work to do and they have stepped up nicely. When Kershaw returns Stewart becomes the long man replacing Hudson (hopefully) When Hill returns what to do with either him or Stripling? Ryu and Urias are farther away but the starting pitching has been a nice surprise. Maybe the excess could solidify the bullpen and keep everyone fresh. Jansen has looked like his old dominant self.

    Last 10 games Dodgers are 7-3 and gained 2 games on the Rocks and Pads, 3 on the Giants and 5 on Az. They could move into 3rd place today but would be in last place in either the East or Central.

    Best against Lyles: Barnes, Utley, Puig, Joc and JT. If there was ever a game to put Joc in CF flanked by Kemp and Puig this is it. Best against Wood: Galvis and Pirela.

    1. Vegas

      What did you think of Puig hitting fifth?

      I think if they are going to move Puig up, it should be against righties, because as you know, Puig has hit righties a lot better, then lefties, in the last couple years.

      I am wondering if Puig was trying to bunt, because he knows he doesn’t feel as comfortable, against lefties, or he was just trying to get the defense to move.

      But it makes better sense, to move him up more against righties, then lefties.

  8. Kemp is fine right now on offense. Though he has done an average job in left field, to me he looks stiff and, can I say it , brittle out there. As long as whoever’s playing centerfield takes left center too, he’ll be OK. And he hits more 3 run homers. Pitching coming along wonderfully in my opinion. Dodgers gonna keep getting lucky if the pitching stays good.

  9. The Dodgers need Bellinger’s bat and they need it soon. after the next 2 games with SD, the Dodgers play 4 with Philadelphia, followed by the Rockies, Pirates, Braves, Rangers, giants, Cubs, Mets, Cubs, Rockies, and the Pirates.

    If the Dodgers are going to leave Taylor at short then move Bellinger back to first and bring up Verdugo to play center every day.

    Would love to see the Dodgers bring up Locastro and play him every day at second.

    Are the Dodgers going to trade for Machado this season,? No.

    Hernandez is a super sub and that’s where is value is to the Dodgers, not playing every day.

  10. Kemp is and has been a good hitter. I expect Turner to end up with the higher average but kemp will be second. Keep an eye on rios if he gets hot he might be up sooner than later he can flat out hit.Bellinger will get it together but is not a high average hitter but he can provide the power needed. When Kershaw comes back I would keep stripling in the rotation until there is a reason not to. Kenley is definitely back. Just play Kiké he has a much higher upside than most. I would give Rios a shot soon he needs some at bats to get his timing down. That means bellinger to the outfield but if you are going to play Muncy bring on rios. Once the dodgers get back to .500 they will make a move to the top. Where is Yasiel Sierra?

  11. Going forward I think FRAZ think Joc’s best fit is in LF so they put him there more than he would play there otherwise. That said, Joc has started in CF more than any other player this year.
    .
    If the team had Machado they could afford to keep Joc in CF against both lefties and righties and Kike would spell everybody.
    .
    2B Taylor
    CF Pederson
    3B Turner
    SS Machado
    LF Kemp
    1B Bellinger
    RF Puig
    C Barnes/Grandal

  12. 1) CT3……SS
    2) Max…..1B
    3) JT)……..3B
    4) Kemp…RF
    5) Yas……..C
    6) Cody….CF
    7) Logan.2B
    8) Joc…….LF
    9) Wood..P
    In the Rubic’s Cube that is Doc’s Lineup Selection: Top 3 Dodger hitters against Lyles lifetime all sit: Barnes, Utley and Puig. Never mind past predictors of performance, there is leftie vs rightie matchups to exploit! Muncy has never faced him, Cody, Logan and Grandal have not hit him well. JT and Joc have hit him and are in there, Kemp and Taylor hit him at .250 and are in there. Hope Wood is on his game today, Doc left a lot on his bench.

    1. Vegas

      I think this pitcher must have reverse splits, because at Dodger com , it says the Dodgers will most likely stack lefties, behind Wood.

      Our bench coach did talk to Puig about stopping and looking at the runner last night, before he picked up the ball.

      But Roberts said this is just a regular day off for Puig.

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