Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Let start with three tweets
Lets all be upset.
Whether you’re truly upset really depends on how much you like Matt Kemp. If you’ve read this blog the last time Matt Kemp was rumored to be on the block you’ll note what my position is, and that’s extremely upset.
In news that’s surprising to no one, the Dodgers want to trade an outfielder in their 30’s because they have too many of them. Scott Van Slyke, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier are simply too many. While you can live with Scott Van Slyke on the bench, Pederson Puig, Crawford, Kemp, and Ethier all are likely starting caliber players who are looking for 3 spots.
This isn’t a new development either, this has been a serious thing ever since after the 2013 season where Andre Ethier was on the block along with Matt Kemp and to a lesser extent Carl Crawford. Ned Colletti, out, Andrew Friedman and friends, in.
Yasiel Puig is an MVP type upside talent, Andre Ethier has a garbage contract and backed that up with less than average play this last season while facing almost exclusively right handed pitching, Carl Crawford, the safest bet in baseball to hit the disabled list with 2 non freak injuries every season.
It’s been made very clear ever since team president Stan Kasten was ushered in, that youth rules the day. Which simply means Joc Pederson will get an abundance of chances (at some point) because he’s young, and he’s cheap, and if that chance comes at the expense of Matt Kemp, or any one of the 30 year old bad contracts, so be it.
I’m attempting to be objective so far, but lets stop that. If the team trades Matt Kemp, it would be a step backwards. Quite possibly the worst possible move that new leadership could possibly make. The unfortunate thing, is I feel it to be most likely personally. Andre Ethier had a horrendous season, and has easily one of the worst 5 contracts in baseball right now. Carl Crawford is simply not a reliable bet to stay on the field for 120 games a season, and was somehow worse in the first half than Matt Kemp. The team is not engaging in Yasiel Puig being dealt, as they should, but the Kemp rumors are worrisome.
If the idea that the team likes youth and is progressive in the mindset relative to previous management, I would wager that Hanley is gone, and will gladly pick up a first round pick in exchange for his efforts. Defense and youth rule in this day and age, and Matt Kemp sure is not good at defense, and he’s getting a bit older.
One could say that offense is being pushed to the side after what the Giants and Royals. And oh boy Matt Kemp can hit. Depending on how you weigh park adjusted stats, he hit 40% above league average this season considering the overall drop of offense these days, and the park that he played in. He mashed 25 dingers, drove in 89, and made it all the way back from labrum surgery with more power than his career average just 2 and a half seasons after he injured his shoulder.
Sabermetrics basically hate Kemp because he did not play an adequate CF (pretty much because he had no time to strengthen his lower body after ankle surgery last offseason), played a bad LF, and played a mediocre RF. *ACCORDING TO THE DEFENSIVE METRICS*. Defensive metrics like UZR and DRS used in general are iffy, especially when UZR states that Matt Kemp was basically worse than Adam Dunn this season.
So while the 1.8 fWAR he compiled might seem like a older player in decline, one year WAR totals are horribly misleading, especially when they say “replace Matt Kemp with Adam Dunn or Mark Trumbo as a late inning replacement”.
Give Kemp another offseason to work on his legs, everything else has shown that he’s the MVP caliber hitter we saw in 2011.
No player is untradeable, Vernon Wells was dealt, lets just hope Zaidi and Friedman believe that Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford are the Dodgers Vernon Wells, because dealing the only reliable right handed power threat in the lineup is a beyond terrible, terrible idea.
If there’s a silver lining, is that some teams need a left handed bat judging by Rosenthal’s tweet. and having some rotation of left handed outfielder not traded platooning with Scott Van Slyke-Puig-Kemp next season with Joc Pederson still working on contact skills in AAA would be ideal, and after having the second half he did, the impending loss of Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers could ill afford to
lose give away Matt Kemp from their team. I’d hate to see the Dodgers trade Matt Kemp, even if he brings in a good return, they might be best suited having Kemp on the roster regardless of the return.