Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of Matt Kemp, it is interesting to see the progression or degradation of his game – as his body increased in size, his production decreased in direct proportion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF2LFHJkgYQ – I can’t get link to work
Most Dodger fans have strong opinions about Kemp… and many are not good. I have witnessed the surly side of Matt Kemp, but I have also witnessed how gracious he can be. At one time, Matt and Andre Ethier were both prima donnas and difficult in the lockerroom… not all the time, but at times. You had to be careful around them because seemingly anything could set this off. Andre got married and had a family and that tends to mellow a guy out. Matt is a single, free spirit still lamenting that he should have won the 2011 MVP over that Cheating Ryan Braun.
As a human being, Matt may not have been as good as some thought, and conversely, he may not be as bad as some think. Like lots of things in life, the truth lies somewhere in-between. Matt Kemp has summarily been dismissed by three different teams. His defensive metrics are atrocious and his batting style is simply “all-or-nothing.”
Matt Kemp is an enigma. Part charm, part venom, part talent, part sulk. I can give you about $43 million reason why Andrew Friedman hopes that Matt Kemp has something left to prove. There are $43 million reasons why the Dodgers hope Matt Kemp has a huge chip on his shoulder. At one time, the Dodgers were almost Matt Kemp’s team. In fact, they could have been, had he acted with more maturity. You know, the kind of maturity exhibited by Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor. But, that’s all water under the dam now. Matt Kemp is here and so are the Dodgers.
Can they both make it work? It’s going to be as difficult as herding cats. Risk verses reward. The risk is great, but the reward could also be. Matt Kemp is fat and out of shape and very likely has some physical issues with his hips. This all could be for naught. Or, it could be for something. Andrew Friedman said he was very honest and direct with Matt Kemp. While I do not know what was said, I do think it went something like this:
“Matt, we traded for you because we needed to dump salary and we were able to do that when we acquired you. Now, this can go down in history as a salary dump and at some point we may trade or release you… or it could be so much more than that. Matt, this is your opportunity at redemption. It’s your chance to show Los Angeles and the World that Matt Kemp really is something. This is your chance to cement your legacy. It’s all up to you, not me.
It all starts with your diet, health and intensity of training. You weigh,like 245 right now, but back in the day, you were a lean, gazelle-like machine. Can you dump the weight, increase the conditioning and train like you never have for years… if ever? Can you agree to play LF, hit #6 and just give it your all no matter what?… because if you do, not only can you do well, but you might approach your MVP level of a few years ago.
Check your ego at the door and leave it all on the field. You are only 33 and have a couple more good years in your body… maybe you can retire as a Dodger and with a couple of World Championships. Do you have the drive, desire and determination to reach out to be what your talent dictates? I’d like you to be part of our Championship team, but it’s up to you. Can you get on board and behind this? Can you be a part of this? It’s your decision…”
Matt Kemp could screw this whole thing up. That I readily admit. Right about now, no one else wants him. NO ONE! But, when you get lemons, maybe it’s best to make lemonade. I doubt there will be any middle ground. With Matt Kemp, it will be boon or bust! I’m hoping for the boon, but am prepared for the bust! He could be released during Spring Training or be an amazing comeback candidate. I don’t have an opinion as to what will play out, but I am hopeful.
Barring a miracle, Matt Kemp will be on the Dodgers roster until late March. The Dodger have other business at hand, namely… maybe trading for Gerrit Cole. I think Yu Darvish will cost too much. Grandal and Pederson will have to be moved to make that happen (that will save about $10 million). Would the Pirates trade Cole for Grandal, Pederson and Alvarez? Do they have to include Verdugo?
What if Matt Kemp showed up in Spring Training at 205 with a new attitude and desire? What if he hit #6 and Toles or Kike served as his backup? What if he hit .270 with 35 HR? What if?
I don’t think Kemp can wreck this team. I don’t think Doc, Clayton, Cody, Corey, JT, Kenley or Rich Hill will tolerate a bad actor.
Matt Kemp: THIS IS YOUR LAST BEST CHANCE!