Nobody Wants Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp

For the life of me I can’t understand why. The Dodgers are trying their darndest to move Matt Kemp. There’s only one problem, nobody wants him. The Dodgers are dangling Kemp in the trade market like a prime choice cutlet at a meat market, but nobody is biting. The market for Kemp is virtually nonexistent and the Dodgers are stuck with his contract.

It’s somewhat ironic that in order for the Dodgers to move all of those equally awful contracts off the books (Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, and Scott Kazmir) that they end up stuck with Kemp. The 33-year old outfielder is still owed 43 million dollars over the final two years of his deal.

In order for the Dodgers to move Kemp they’ll have to include some prospects into the offer and even then there are still no takers. The longer it takes the Dodgers to dump him, the more likely it seems that he could open camp with the club.

The problem with Kemp is that he can’t play the outfield or run the bases anymore. He finished with a negative WAR in 2017. That’s a far cry from the 8 WAR he posted during his peak 2011 season. That year he led the league in home runs, RBI, and runs scored. He also stole 40 bases. Could the Dodgers be willing to at the least give him a look this spring?

I will admit that a big part of me would like to see Kemp return to the Dodgers and play. It’s strange because I know that it’s unlikely to happen. It would be a bad idea. Firstly he would be blocking other younger stronger players like Joc Pederson, or Alex Verdugo. The Dodgers would have to put Kemp in left field because the possibility of him playing center field went by by years ago.

Kemp can’t play defense, but there is still one thing he can do and that’s hit the ball out of the park. Kemp has posted better than respectable slugging numbers over the last several years. As a matter of fact from 2015-2017 the Bison has slugged 77 home runs and driven home 272 runs between the Padres and Braves. That’s about all he can do. He strikes out a lot, he can’t get on base anymore and we’ve already mentioned his defensive shortcomings.

Still a big part of me wants to see Kemp in a Dodger uniform again. I think it’s the nostalgic part of my brain. I guess you could say I’m a sick man. Indeed I am since seeing Kemp return to Chavez Ravine gets me a little excited. Search deep into the labyrinth of your mind. You know you would like to see this too.

Or maybe not. Again I’m just sick and in need of professional help. Regardless of that it would make sense for Kemp to go to an American League team where he could DH. The Dodgers will probably just end up releasing him. But wouldn’t it be cool if the Dodgers opened the regular season with Kemp in left field?

Oh my god I need help.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

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

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94 thoughts on “Nobody Wants Matt Kemp

  1. It’s been two days.

    It might take a while. Much will depend on what Kemp looks like and what he says. He could help his cause by getting in great shape and showing some humility about his role going forward. He has stated in the past he wants to be a two way player. I think it’s a real problem if he still feels this way.

  2. Just saw this comment on MLBTR and I think it makes sense.
    The luxury tax should not count, OR a modified system for home grown players.
    Teams that bring players up through the system should be rewarded for not going big on the free agency or raping small market teams.
    Interesting I thought.
    It would need some tweeks but I like the idea

    1. In the NBA, home grown players are allowed a greater margin and a extra year to sign “max contracts” with their original teams. This has, to some extent, allowed some franchises to keep their home grown players. However it tends to help the big markets more, because the big markets can also choose to develop prospects (or to acquire them). All in all has limited effect on small market teams.

      This whole lux tax thing has been running in the NBA for years. The MLB is way behind and those who are called geniuses in the MLB would get absolutely destroyed in the NBA.

  3. I figure he’s got to be DFA’d or released before camp, the team can’t risk an injury.

    Until then it only matters if a 40 man spot is needed.

  4. “He strikes out a lot, he can’t get on base anymore and we’ve already mentioned his defensive shortcomings.”

    That’s pretty bad! If I recall correctly, he and Puig didn’t get along very well. Oh well at least it’s some type of off season drama.

    Plus now we know Scott needs therapy!

    1. He strikes out a lot.

      His K% was better than Cody Bellinger’s.

      Defensive shortcomings.

      He has 2 more Gold Gloves than Corey Seager.

      Look, it’s very unlikely Kemp plays a down for the Dodgers. He might take some snaps in Spring Training in a showcase move, but I do not see FAZ allowing him to take up a roster spot.

      1. I say take him to spring training, suit him up and give him to the great Dave Roberts. You know, the guy who is a master at handling players. He should return to championship form with Dave on his side. No problem.

      2. Badger
        Don’t forget Pederson who hit a smooth .212. He leaves a lot to be desired and he is still on the team. Kemp is better than he is.

        1. Package

          That is something we agree about!

          But there are some who don’t value a hitter’s batting average, but most people on here do!

      3. Badger

        All of that is probably true, but he did do a pretty good job, of protecting Freddie Freeman in the line up, and he did hit 35 HRs, and he hit over a hundred runs in, 2016.

        And when was the last time we had a outfielder, that did that?

          1. MJ
            I think Kemp is a better hitter than Joc even this late in Kemp’s career. Joc has never met expectations and probably should be traded in my opinion. Of course Kemp’s defensive skills are really not acceptable but then again Joc is FAT.

      1. Package

        I thought Roberts did a very good job, having our players ready to play, once the post season began.

        And that was after the Dodgers had to wait longer then any team in the post season, to play there first game!

        And I was surprised how well the Dodgers started playing from the very first game, because of the time they had to wait.

        1. I’m pretty sure everyone is thrilled with and knows Roberts is a good manager. Right?

          Maybe a tactical second-guess in the WS, but he led the team to the best record in baseball, and juggled players and egos throughout the year.

          Didn’t he win Manager of the Year, and then come in 2nd?

      2. I don’t believe Dave Roberts will have a say in it. FAZ already got rid of Kemp’s ass once and the only reason he’s here now is that he helps alleviate the McCarthy and Kazmir mistakes. I think I have as good a chance of making the 25 man as Matt Kemp.

        1. Ah, c’mon Badger. Kemp will be the new left fielder and any problems between Puig and Kemp or Kemp and whoever will be easily handled by the great Dave Roberts. Done deal.
          Oh and by the way, FAZ is so cheap that is the reason Kemp’s ass is here.

          1. Package

            I thought Kemp was right for getting on Puig, for not running the bases correctly.

            Apparently they both were not the best team mates back then.

            But I felt more for Kemp, because he injured himself, on that wall in Colorado for this team.

            And I think a different manager, would have managed both Puig and Kemp better.

        2. You have a better chance of making the 25 man than Kemp, Badger. You may even be able to do more pushups than either Kemp or Joc, or both.

      3. If Turner Ward could help Puig lay off those sliders on the outside corner, maybe he could help Kemp do that too!

        And that would not only cut down on Kemp’s strike outs, it would make Kemp an even better hitter, and not an easy out.

  5. What number will you be wearing Badger?

    Kemp was a clubhouse cancer, or so it was told. I have to wonder how much of his problem had to do with Donnie T-ball being the manager and letting the players walk all over him and each other.

    Kemp has always been a head case, remember when he just stunk it up soon after Rhianna stubbed his chub? Dude is still living in his Jr. High or High School head.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. True

      I agree with you about Mattingly!

      He wanted to go to the Marlins, so he had a bunch of young players that looked up at him.

      I thought Mattingly should have been more compassionate to Kemp, after he was coming back from his injuries.

      Especially since Mattingly had his career shortened, because his back problems.

      And right back at you Blue!

  6. I’d like #12 please True.

    I just read a piece at BR about Buehler. I’d post the link for you but I’ve learned to avoid doing that. It was praising his stuff, saying it was as good as any FA currently on the market, referenced his TJ surgery, suggested the Dodgers would likely start him in AAA. The author said this:

    “Buehler could get the Julio Urias treatment where the Dodgers try to hold him to 150 innings or less for the entire season.”

    Hold him to 150? I laughed a bit as I think 150 innings is the goal for every starting pitcher in our organization except Kershaw. Then I thought – if the goal is 150, and his stuff is “as good as anybody on the market”, why waste any of those innings in AAA?

    We need pitching. If Buehler is that good, and if Buehler is strong enough to throw 150, Buehler should make the starting rotation.

    I haven’t heard anything about Urias and I wonder when we might hear something from Matt Kemp. Also, where exactly is the Fat Boy Farm that Pederson is currently located?

    1. Joc is getting married soon, and I don’t see him missing out, on any cake.

      Remember that video they had of Joc working out in the airport, I wonder what that was about.

          1. Package

            I like Archer, he has pitched 200 innings the last three years.

            He seems like a pitcher that baseball people would call, a pitcher with a rubber arm.

            And I think on a team like the Dodgers, he would pitch much better.

            And Honeycutt and Kershaw, would help him get better too.

    1. Longoria is expensive and off a down year.

      The Giants need to do something especially at 3rd, hopefully Longoria bounces back for them. Also gives Matt Duffy a shot at 3B

      Even his batted-ball data from Statcast in 2017 was consistently below the median, whether it’s average or maximum exit velocity or launch angle likely to result in hits.

      His performance was better in 2016, so the Giangts are hoping they’re buying low or that the minor thumb, foot and neck injuries he played through this past season were a factor, but there’s a lot of risk here that he’s past his peak and won’t play well enough to justify the $86 million he’s guaranteed over the next five years.

      1. Longoria is 32 and projects over 3 WAR for next year. I think this is SF trying to be relevant again. They still have work to do, but they have money so I wouldn’t count them out.

  7. Here is a very FBZ signing for you. Lincecum is trying a come back and I would not be surprised if we sign him on the same deal as Morrow last year. I’d welcome it if he can pitch in the mid to low 90s.

  8. And I also would not be surprised if we get Britton even after his Achilles’ tendon tear. We are probably the only team left who can take him on and wait it out. He’s projected to miss 6 months so we’d be getting him back in July or August. Right after we get Urias back.

    1. YF

      I thought about that too, but he was having arm problems last year, so I don’t know if he is a good guy to bet on, as much as his salary will be.

      1. Everyone will be thinking this too, MJ, and that’s why we can get him for cheap. It’s scary times in Baltimore. We can probably get Britton for much lower than last year’s asks and proffers — the time to pounce is now. I’d send them Stewart and Farmer, or Joc and Stewart or Farmer if they want a team controlled bat.

  9. According to Passan & Nightengale:
    Tom Koehler will be paid base salary of $2 million and can earn additional $1.25 million if he makes 25 starts or $500,000 if he appears in 60 games as reliever/starter with the Dodgers.
    The hope is he’s this year’s Joe Blanton or Brandon Morrow: a longtime starter who cottons to relief work and sees his stuff play up.

    1. Kholer had a K/9 of 9.5+ in 2017, helped mostly by a move to the bullpen. But his walk rate is on the high end and has always been on the high side. Blanton had much lower walk rate and HR rate as a reliever before he was signed by the Dodgers, and I’m not convinced Kholer is worth this contract and roster spot. I’d prefer relievers to walk less than 2 per 9 innings (Kohlers is much higher), and while the K rate needs to be high but it’s not the key stat for me, for this team, because we have Jansen, and I think the K rate is a volatile stat that can pick or go south quickly (for converted relievers). Morrow by the way also walked much less and gave up less HRs even in 2016, as a reliever in 2016, but he had a poor K rate which jumped after he got to the Dodgers. Probably because he got healthier from 2016 to 2017.

      So I think a 2016 Blanton is Kohler’s ceiling but I doubt we see even that. I think he is likely to turn out to be anothe Hatcher or Baez.

    1. No problem. I was replying to Bluto actually, just my thoughts on whether Kohler could be another Blanton or Morrow. I don’t like WAR figures for relievers (or pitchers in general).

        1. FAZ sees only spin rate. When Koehler went to the pen he threw 12 innings with impressive spin. That has to be it. No other explanation for that signing fits. If Lincecum can spin, he’s in. Can Britton can spin when sittin? If he kin, then Britton be fittin in.

          I want Archer.

          1. With the money we have left under the cap, we can easily get both Britton and Archer, if we part with Alvarez and prospects ranked lower than Alvarez. That would be an amazing off season in my view.

        2. Me too, MJ. Kohler’s walk rate is over 3 in 2017 and over 4 for the couple of years further back. So is Baez and Hatcher. Morrow and Blanton are both under 2. Walk rate and WHiP are big stats for me, for relievers. The spin rates will take care of itself within the confines of these stats.

        1. Pitch like Morrow? I doubt it. Not many throw the ball 100 mph. Success like Morrow? I doubt that too. Not many throw the ball 100 mph. You’re hoping for another out of their ass discovery. Well, I think I read somewhere that the 12 innings of success came not from fastballs all over but not in the strike zone, but from curves and sliders. Spin rate. The FAZ does love them some spin rates.

          1. Stay optimistic? Like you are about Kemp?

            Good idea. Koehler is Morrow and …… the new Kemp – same as the old Kemp.

            But there’s something in the cleats… that looks different to me…. Smile and grin at the change all around, then he’ll pick up his glove and play…….but not like yesterday……

          2. You’re right. I got sidetracked. By Who. My bad.

            I have new projections for him. .270/.333/.480. 25 home runs, 80 RBIs, 80 runs. For Who? Beats me. Maybe the Hams. Or the Buffaloes.

  10. Britton injured and to have surgery. I thought about it and I really do not care what they do with Matt Kemp because no matter what I think FAZ is going to do what he thinks is best for the Dodgers. All I want is for them to beat the Giants as many times as they can and win the division. Any where they get beyond that is a win. I think the road to the title will not be all that easy this year.

    1. Michael

      I agree with most of what you said.

      But I do hope we are in for another exciting season, because they were so much fun to watch, last year.

      But that losing streak, did test us all.

      1. I think they will be exciting. I just do not think they will be as good at last year. They already are one major cog short with Morrow gone. The other free agents, including Darvish, were not that instrumental to winning the division. Rob Flippo the former Bull pen catchers gets the same job with Miami.

  11. Here is my exit review on Justin Turner. Again I am aware of a lot SABR stats on these guys, but I don’t want to dwell on them since a majority of blogs out there already put out a lot of SABR stats. I am just stating my own observations and recollections of these players over the course of the year, with more focus on their performance during the playoffs (where applicable), and lastly how they could help the team next year.

    Justin Turner. I had a tough time writing this one, and I think there will be many who disagrees with me. Justin Turner is a great player and a crucial part of our defense as well as our lineup. And I understand that he has put up three very good years in a row, including a career year in 2017 (career high slugging and .945 OPS with a career low strike rate—all by wide margins!). And this was AFTER he signed his first big contract, which was very encouraging to see. However, I think Justin Turner is due to regress significantly next year. He is a great player who is a plus plus in batting, fielding, on-field smarts, leadership, and gets along with everybody. But he is just not very durable, and he just looked worn out by Game 7 in the WS. In fact I was very much worried about his defense from Game 3 on, as he just did not look right. Added to this, is that every year there are nicks and pains that sideline him, especially towards the end of the season. I am not against the need to rest him every so often, which the Dodgers are built to do and I have no worries that we have the parts to do it. My worry is that players who have a history of needing rest, will break down sooner rather than later, and when they do, their production could fall off a cliff. We’ve seen him go through a prolonged slump 2016 before he turned it around. My gut feeling is that there is a good chance we see a longer slump in 2018 and Dave Roberts will, as he did in 2016 with Turner and Reddick, and both Granderson and Forsythe in 2017, let Turner play out his slump. If we are building a team with so much depth and versatility, we need to stop letting our players (rookies and veterans) play out of any prolonged slumps on the field.

    1. Here’s my entrance interview on Justin Turner:

      He’s due to regress. 125 games. .280/.360/.470. 20 home runs, 75 RBIs. He’s the same age as Kemp. With Matt back on the team, they may go eat donuts together. A dozen Bismarck’s, 7,000 calories. With white mocha coolatta’s – 900 calories. But what are calories between friends? Invite Joc to join you guys.

    2. YF

      I think that could happen with Turner, because it isn’t unusual, that some players and teams, have a little hangover after they play deep, into the post season.

      I think we should rest Turner more toward the last month of the season, to keep him fresher for the post season.

      But I don’t think Turner looked like he did, because he was only worn out.

      I think Turner was dealing with some kind of injury, or some soreness, from being hit to much, or from something else.

      Because Roberts didn’t have Turner participate in one or two of the team’s work outs, right before the World Series.

      And in the prior two post season series, Turner did well, and he didn’t look that worn out, because remember, he was co MVP of the National League series.

  12. Just came across, by chance, Yankee’s trade last year, unloading McCann when Sanchez looked like he could take over the starting catcher job. That move netted only two low level pitching prospects from the Astros, but the freed up salary space probably allowed the Yankees to jump on the Stanton trade. McCann was making $17 million (yikes). If the Yankees hadn’t traded McCann, his value is likely close to nil after this year (not to mention having to platoon with Sanchez).

    Will the Dodgers almighty FBZ do the same with Grandal? I doubt it. They will sit on Grandal and watch his value completely evaporate in 5 months.

  13. Got this in my mailbox this morning:

    “Why would a team sign Yonder Alonzo for $8 MM or Eric Hosmer for ??? when they could get Agon on a ONE YEAR CONTRACT FOR $500K??????”

    What should I tell him?

    1. Badger

      Good question!

      If this team is the Padres, why would they be trying to over pay, or sign another player to a big multi year contract to play first, after they just signed Meyers to a multi year contract, the year before.

      And Meyers not only regressed, he didn’t have a very good season at all, after he signed that multi year contract.

      I thought the same about the Phillies giving Santana that multi year contract, this year too.

      Because Santana’s numbers in the last few years, have been much like what Agone did, in 2016.

      And if Agone is at least as healthy as he was in 2016, he is one the best RBI guys, in all of baseball, especially when it comes to tough RBIs.

      And Agone would be a good teacher, and example, for young players on the Padres too, not to mention he would be so much cheaper, and not a big risk like a multi year contract, would bring to a team.

      It doesn’t make sense at all!

  14. While I don’t think Koehler is close to Morrow, I am not so sure Morrow will stay healthy enough, for the Cubs, most of his contact.

    Because Morrow has had more injury history then most pitchers have, and we rode Morrow pretty hard, in the post season.

    And because of all of that, he may not be what the Cubs want him to be, for most of his contract.

    1. Cubs may be just fine with one great year out of him. If they get what he gave us, and other Cubs wake up from hibernation, they will be tough to beat.

      1. Badger

        I thought maybe they might be happy with one good year, but there bullpen didn’t do well last year, so there will be some high expectations put on Morrow, there.

        And Morrow pitched more innings last year, then he pitched in the last four years, and the I don’t know if these numbers, include the number of innings he pitched in the minors, along with the innings he pitched in the post season, this last year.

        And the Cubs still haven’t done much to replace Arrieta yet, and there starting rotation last year, was not that good.

      1. Bobby

        And I won’t like it, if he beats us, in the post season.

        He pitched really well in the first two post season series for us, so I have mixed emotions about him.

        And you have to wonder if Yu was tipping pitches, shouldn’t Honeycutt, have noticed this, after his first start.

    1. Yes that’s obvious for all to see. Roberts and Honeycutt have done very well the last two years (and remember they turned essentially the same mediocre bullpen that they inherited and got them to become a top tier bullpen in 2016). I would be using the same strategy too. The difference is Roberts and Honeycutt (even if they did blow it in Game 2).

      I think our difference maker next year will be Yimi Garcia in the first half and Urias in the second half.

          1. Yeah, he’s listed at #6, which I could live with. But are Dodgers preparing for that, or for somebody to start on the DL?

            Hirano signs with dbacks and Cole talks heating up in NY.

  15. Yeah, as Badger noted, Hirano goes to the DBacks. 2 years, $6 million. This could be a very good signing for the DBacks.

    What does everybody think of those stories about the Yankees trading Stanton to the Dodgers after this year?

      1. On the internet. You can find a lot of information there. There are stories about aliens, the fall of great empires and even stuff about sports.

      2. It is on Yardbarker there Bluto. Was reported yesterday that some think the Yanks will trade Stanton to the Dodgers so they can pursue Harper…

        1. Michael and Badger,

          Life is too short to chase after unsourced Internet rumours or stories from YardBarker.

          That said, this one actually has a genesis from the great Boston Globe.

          I don’t buy it because of the DH problem. I do think Harper would be spectacular, but there will be a lot of suitors.

          1. I didn’t chase it. Just showed up in my email box. I get alerts from yardbarker, and a lot of the stuff they post has legs and truth to it. Some is just pure speculation. I do not really buy the Stanton stuff anyway…never felt the Dodgers were close to getting the guy.

          2. Harper going to Chicago NL next winter for record contract. Check out who his friends are when he’s not playing. Already made his comments year and a half ago about where he wants to go.

  16. They will be stuck waiting until March to move him to an AL team that needs a DH. He’s still got some fuel left in the tank if and a big IF he shapes up. 272 rbi over last three years. Someone splits it with the Dodgers and they will have shed the rest of the bad contracts only going 20 mil out of pocket. Probably will have to take a bad player too in the trade however will be worth it to clean house.

    1. Trading bad contracts doesn’t really shed salary, it just redistributes it. I do agree that if he shows up in shape, and controls his strike zone, he could help somebody. The key will be his own want to. Obviously I don’t know the guy but just the fact he would allow himself to go to seed at age 32 says something about character. I hope he shows up at 210 ready to tear the cover off the ball. If he does, a few teams could use him, including us. At 210 with healthy legs he could even play an adequate left field. Still not a word from, or about him. We may not know anything until he shows up in February. I wonder what he is thinking about being back in LA? What is the team telling him?

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