Dodgers: Matt Kemp Needs to Impress Early in 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Matt Kemp
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Matt Kemp /

Due to the Dodgers’ lack of offseason action, we could see Matt Kemp back in Los Angeles rocking the Ravine in a couple of months. With that reality starting to settle in, there are a flurry of questions that come with Kemp.

To think that Spring Training is little over a month away and Matt Kemp is still on the Dodgers is somewhat strange, or even awkward. No further moves have been made in effort to trade him. I’m not entirely certain as to what the front office is looking to do with him at this point or if indeed they want to move him at all. For the time being, in terms of the level of production that he could hopefully give Los Angeles, it looks like he’s staying.

Is he fit to play a solid outfield position still? According to reports, Matt Kemp is in better shape now, than what he was with Atlanta and San Diego:

These reports of Kemp’s physical look could provide some relief to the Dodgers and their fans, as he was considered a threat on the bases for some time in his career. If Los Angeles is able to squeeze out the remains of what is left in Matt Kemp’s legs, they can consider that a win. However, they ought to be satisfied with any decent production that he puts out – due in large part to his drop in offensive production last season. The two-time Gold Glove award winner may not be quite as fleet of foot over the past couple years, but if what the reports suggest is true, we could very well see some above average defense to tag along with a bounce back year at the plate.

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For however long he remains in the National League, Kemp will have to play a position in the outfield. Not to say he is unable, but without having defense be a focus of his play throughout the year he might have a better chance to be producing some lethal offense. For Kemp to not be on a team in which he can see a role as a Designated Hitter, the chances of a bounce back year with the bat appear somewhat bleak. It really only makes sense to keep expectations to a minimum and hope for a healthy, fit athlete when Spring Training rolls around. However, the reason for bringing Matt Kemp back could simply be for a leadership role.

Kemp has tasted the postseason with Los Angeles before. And now with an even more talented club than what he was apart of, there is a much better chance of him stepping into a role similar to the one that Chase Utley had in his time with the Dodgers. Especially after coming so close to taking it all in the 2017 World Series, the front office may have looked ahead to insert Kemp as a more productive Chase Utley. They envision what his ability may give them if the Dodgers storm into the postseason once again.

Whether we see the 33-year-old veteran step into a platoon role or just a fill-in off the bench, when the starters need a day off, there is still reason to believe that he can play everyday – it just might not be in Los Angeles.

Next: Sorting Out the Outfield

The way that the organization and its fans should see it though, is that he will have the ability to once again earn his time as a Dodger. That could play huge into what type of value he carries throughout the 2018 season. He was always beloved as a Dodger and if they decide to stick with him and see this through, the Dodgers could have a revived impact-performer in the dugout, just like old times.