Matt Kemp is Still A Dodger For Now, But For How Long?

Matt Kemp

The Dodger’s front office is working feverishly to try and dump outfielder Matt Kemp. But as I have written previously nobody wants him. The situation currently appears to look as if Kemp will suit up with the Dodgers in spring training. His age, high salary, and defensive shortcomings are making it very hard for the Dodgers to move him. And they don’t want to have to include prospects in a deal just to get rid of him.

Kemp is due to make 21.75 million dollars over the final two seasons of his contract, although part of that will be paid by the Padres. The Dodgers are on the hook for 33 million of it I believe. Of course Kemp’s defensive metrics would scare off any potential suitor. Don’t even look at those numbers because they might make you faint.

So to recap, Kemp is owed far too much money. He can’t play defense. He can’t get on base consistently anymore and he strikes out way too much. That is probably the reason nobody wants him. However there is one thing he can still do and that’s hit for power. Kemp has slugged 77 home runs and driven in 272 runs since 2015. The guy can still hit home runs despite not doing anything else well anymore.

http://gty.im/843417794

The Dodgers may as well let him suit up for spring training and see what he has. It can’t hurt to let him play some exhibition games and give him a look. If he shows up to camp and is overweight and or he sucks then the Dodgers will have to just bite the bullet and release him. Even if they designate him for assignment there is no way they’re going to pay Kemp 33 million plus dollars to play for Oklahoma City if nobody claims him and he accepts a minor league assignment. There’s also little chance they pay him 30 million plus to sit on the bench and be the fifth outfielder.

So you let him break camp with the big club and see what he’s got. It probably won’t be much, but you never know. He’s 33-years old, not 43-years old. Again, it doesn’t hurt to give him a look. Of course you don’t want him blocking younger players like Alex Verdugo, Joc Pederson, or Andrew Toles. Those are the main guys competing for the left field position. The younger players will have the advantage.

There are rumors that the White Sox may be interested in Kemp as a DH, but there hasn’t been anything substantial from those. Maybe the Dodgers catch lightning in a bottle with Kemp and his power? There is also a certain sick bent appeal of Kemp returning to the Dodgers. Barring a last minute deal, the Dodgers are almost out of time to get a trade done. Matt Kemp might suck, but it can’t hurt to give him a look.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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29 thoughts on “Matt Kemp is Still A Dodger For Now, But For How Long?

  1. Old news and excuse me I do not think they are working all that hard to dump Matt. For a guy with bad defensive metrics his fielding percentage is very good. .993. That is well in range of the league average. From all reports, and I have read none to the contrary, Kemp is in fantastic shape. That is what everyone has been reporting and he is working out with team mates. I think with only 12 days until pitchers and catchers report, they are pretty well locked in to taking Matt to camp. Doubt he will be wearing his familiar # 27 though unless George Lombard gives it up.

    1. Mr. Norris
      I don’t think they are trying to dump Matt either. Let’s face it, he is better than anyone else the Dodgers have from the right side offensively and they will pay him anyway. I also do not think his defense is that bad. I guess some just want to hate on him. He is still worth more to the team than Grandal in my opinion. I also love the potential of a 100 RBI guy which none of the others are capable. Kemp is OK.

  2. Kemp is likely the RH half of a LF platoon. Last year we signed Gutierrez for this function, and he was pretty slow (and bad) in LF. Kendrick was not better. In fact I would bet pushups that Kemp is a better outfielder at this point in his career than last year’s Gutierrez and 2016 Kendrick. If so, Kemp starts and then he gets subbed out first after the inevitable righty reliever comes in. This probably averages out to maybe 9 ABs per week, out of 6 games per week that is 9/30 which is less than a third ABs. Leaving 19 AB opportunities to either Toles or Joc as the LH platoon LF starter.

    Maybe after two months of this (that’s about 70-80 ABs, not a bad sample size), an AL team may take him as a DH and then we try Trayce Thompson or Segedin as the RH half of the LP platoon, or just play Kike.

    Let the ST competition begin!

  3. Badger,

    What was that word press blog that you spoke highly of?

    Dodger Freud? Dodger Help?

    I’ve been googling and haven’t found it.

    Agree with Michael, this Kemp debate has droned on long enough. Many people think he’s an atrocious fielder, others think he’s fine.

    Will boil down to three true outcomes:
    1. Trade him
    2. Cut him
    3. Roster him

    We’ll find out what. We know what they’d like to do.

    1. Dodger Therapy. He closed the blog. I left when someone took my handle, I asked him who he was (probably nobody but I’d never seen him anywhere before and haven’t since) and Freudy uninvited me.

      Yeah, they’d like to trade him. If they really believed in him they trade two of the other 5 guys trying out for that spot. You know what I want – 156 games of a healthy Matt Kemp. The odds of that? I don’t know, maybe 50%? He last did that in ‘16 so it wasn’t that long ago. I suspect his leg issues were caused by poor conditioning. His first half last year was good, .826 OPS, but he faded like a Santa Monica sunset.

      1. Of course, the Dodgers have to suit him up in the pre-season and take a good look at what he’s got. The chances are it may be more than we expect and more than is waiting in the wings. We don’t know. They own him alread and they are going to use every asset that they have as they usually do.

        It would be good to trade him. No hard feelings, but I don’t think the fans really are behind him.

      2. Hey Badger
        Who was that Badger the olde? I saw the last post and you could tell he wasn’t you. I always enjoyed Freudy posts. I guess he quit all of the sudden?

        1. I don’t know who he was pack. I’ve never encountered another Badger anywhere but there. I assumed he knew me, but, I could be wrong. Freudy to be a good writer and it surprised me he told me to feel free to leave. All I did was ask that guy who he was. Yeah, I thought it was a well written blog, but he bailed.

      3. Badger, he was injured the 2nd half and spent a lot of time on the DL. Not sure what the issue was, but since the Braves were out of the race they just kept him on the DL. Had he been healthy, I think he would have easily had at least 25-30 with 90 plus ribbies.

  4. “He can’t play defense.”

    Why do people say that. That’s just categorically untrue. He can play defense. Hell I can play defense. As has already been mentioned, we’ve seen worse out there. His range is limited, yes, but his 4 Gold Gloves in center tells me two things – he must have been ok out there and dWAR is not a believable stat as in all 4 of those years he had a negative dWAR.

    I hope he is in shape. If he isn’t then he’s an idiot that doesn’t have a shred of self respect and he will be cut. Either way we should be ok in left field. Not great probably, but ok. I find myself more concerned about pitching. But then that’s not surprising, I have felt that way for a few years running.

  5. So, this may be completely random, but I recently googled “how can mlb teams claim to be losing money while franchise values are skyrocketing”. I mean, there has to be a reason why Guggenheim pays $600 million above Forbes estimated value for the Dodgers, right? They do this, spend a couple hundred million+ in the IM market, pay tens of millions in fines for going over both that market and the imposed luxury tax limits, then claim debt while the franchise improves in value every year. Obviously this is billionaire bookkeeping, right?

    So this is what pops up:

    http://www.greenberglawoffice.com/mlb-franchise-values-skyrocketing/

    I read it through once and felt like I was being hypnotized. I’ll read it again after the additional caffeine kicks in, but maybe someone here can sum it up in one paragraph of clear concise prose.

    1. first of all, I don’t think many teams are claiming they are losing money. They simply say they don’t want to go over the luxury tax threshold

      Jeff Passan has spoken about it and written about it.

      The whole luxury tax thing is a sham. Teams could easily go over and face negligible effect. Passan quantifies the drop in value of the draft pick (due to the penalty) at around 500K. 500K!

      It’s an excuse not to spend money.

      1. The Dodgers claim it. The Orioles and Tigers claim it. The Marlins and Royals claim it. There may be others.

        I do agree the wealthy teams can do whatever they want. I heard for years the Dodgers had to cut payroll. For years they didn’t. Now they appear to be resetting the triggers and I contend they are only doing that so they can go over the luxury tax again. The idea they are operating at negative operating income seems like accountant speak to me.

  6. As many has speculated, Kemp’s defense, is probably more about his state of mind, then anything.

    Because the way teams shift, and put their players in the best place to make the plays, has made it easier for all players, in a defensive sense.

    And I think Kemp will benefit from this, along with a better attitude.

    YF made a good point, about us never hearing much about Gutierrez’s and Howie’s defense, in the outfield, and Gutierrez was so stiff he barely could stay on the field, before he had to go out on the DL, and Howie also had his issues, in the outfield too.

    Kemp is a career outfielder, and he is much more athletic then these other two players, so if Kemp applies himself, he should be more then adequate in left field, this year.

    And Kemp is by far, is our best hitter in the outfield, if he stays with the team.

    And if Turner Ward can help Kemp with those sliders on the outside corner, Kemp may hit at an even higher level then he did in 2016, when he was protecting Freddy Freeman, in the line up.

    And if Kemp can do that, Bellinger might have a even better season, then he had last year, because when Kemp was protecting Freeman in the line up, Freeman had a MVP type of season.

    And Kemp being in our line up, will make every hitter in our line up better.

    He is the right hand bat, we have been missing, since he was traded, and Hanley was let go.

  7. Trayce Thompson has no options left. If he does not make the team out of spring, he will have to go through waivers to be sent to the minors. Same thing for Font. Trayce is going to have to have a monster spring to even be considered for a platoon job in LF.

    1. I don’t see a platoon in left, if Kemp is our leftfielder, because Kemp hit righties better last year then lefties, but more importantly, he has hit both lefties and righties, and his splits have not that been extreme, that it would cause him to be a candidate, for a platoon, like many of our other candidates for left, except Toles.

      1. That should say, Kemp’s splits have not been that extreme, to make him a candidate for a platoon, like most of our other outfielders, except Toles.

  8. That nasty strike word is popping up again. This time generated by an agent. He suggests they should boycott spring. That of course would be in violation of the basic agreement. I have a little poll I would like to put to you. Which of todays stars would you actually pay to see? The ones you feel could do something special at any time. Point is, there are players today, and a lot of them……who make more money in a year than Ruth made his entire career. Babe played 23 full seasons. His highest pay was 120,000. Difference to me is that Babe put butts in the seats so he was well worth 120 grand. Not many of the guys out there now can generate that kind of interest. Nor do they putt asses in the seats. Judge and Stanton come to mind. Maybe Harper. Kershaw and Scherzer. The Mad Bum when he was good. But not many others. I would pay to see Griffey when he was in his prime because either at bat or in the field, he could do something awesome. Bellinger if he keeps hitting HR’s would be a draw for me. Koufax and Drysdale always were.

      1. I agree, I would too. Seems to me though that all their pop is from the right side, Stanton, Judge and Sanchez. Not sure if Bird is a lefty. If they choose to go after Harper next year, that would be a formidable lineup. Shades of the Bronx Bombers and Murderers Row. I also pose another question. How many years without a WS win before FAZ is considered a flop? He has had 3. Kasten was with the Braves when they won 12 straight division titles and only 1 World Series. How long does the drought last? Do we blame last year on FAZ, or on Roberts? I have been fortunate enough to see every Dodger Championship. I would like to see at least 1 more before I shuffle off. I think they need to win one sooner than later as this ownership said they were committed to winning championships, not just getting to the big one.

    1. I love, love, love watching Rich Hill pitch.

      The different curves, the recoil behind the fastball, the emotion.

      Kinda reminds me of Oil Can Boyd.

      1. You are one of the few Bluto. He gives me heartburn waiting for his next cookie to fly over the fence. And I definitely would not pay for heartburn.

  9. Go figure…..JT Realmuto lost his arbitration case with the Marlins and will get 2.9 million for a season where he hit .278 with 17 dingers and over 60 RBI’s. Shelby Miller wins a 200,000 raise for a 2-2 season. Grandal got 7.9 mil without going to arbitration. Realmuto must have a lousy agent because his offensive stats very close to Grandal.

  10. From a recent Q&A on FanGraphs:
    Question: If the Dodgers’ plan is to release Matt Kemp if they can’t trade him, shouldn’t they do that pretty soon? Kemp’s done a lot for that franchise, and holding on to him all offseason then cutting him at the last minute right before spring training and not leaving him much time to find a new team would be a pretty shitty thing to do to him, no?

    Jeff Sullivan: In fairness, even if Kemp were a free agent all along, he still wouldn’t have a deal. The market right now is full of available decent hitters with basically zero defensive value. I expect that the Dodgers will shortly find a team to assume Kemp’s salary. At least, much of it, packaged along with a young player of value…

    Also on FanGraphs:
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/i-should-explain-this-wilmer-font-thing/

    1. I’m high on Font too. He’s the second coming of Brandon Morrow and he’s my 8th inning guy from Day 1!

      That said, if someone wants him and $18 million to take on Kemp, I might let him go.

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