Dodgers: Getting a Team to Buy Into Kemp Remains the Best Scenario
Andrew Friedman has shown no regards towards the feelings of Dodger fans by trading away multiple fan favorites like Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez.
Now with Matt Kemp back in the fold and quickly re-entering the hearts of Dodger fans everywhere, Friedman would love nothing more than to deal away Kemp a second time. You have to love the ruthless demeanor of Andrew Friedman, he is willing to do whatever is best for the Dodgers, even if it means breaking some of the hearts of Dodger fans.
By re-acquiring Kemp, Friedman got the Dodgers under the tax threshold to avoid steeper penalties like draft pick loss and paying double for every dollar over the tax threshold. Perhaps more importantly, it allowed the Dodgers to reset their tax penalties and possibly splurge in next year’s star-studded free agency. While Kemp is much more fit this spring and even showing some signs of power still in his bat, Friedman is hoping that a team buys into Matt Kemp and takes him off the hands of the Dodgers.
It was reported on the day the Dodgers acquired Kemp that the team was likely to trade or release Kemp and Kemp himself has said in interviews that the Dodgers front office was very honest and upfront with him about their plans. It remains to be seen how much playing time the Dodgers will give Kemp if he isn’t traded or released by opening day. Perhaps they will play him hoping he entices another team to deal him. That would be the best case scenario for the Dodgers, even if the team taking him on picks up hardly any of the tab.
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Matt Kemp simply doesn’t fit the Dodgers game plan. The Dodgers are a team that relies heavily on their pitching and defense to win games. While they do have an offense that is capable of putting up crooked numbers at any point, they do not try to win games the Colorado Rockie way. Kemp had –17 DRS rating last season and ranked as one of the worst left fielders in baseball. While some say that was due to his weight gain, he has other problems fielding that includes lack of closing speed and poor reads on fly balls. Even slimming down is not going to fix that.
The other reason Kemp is not a good fit for the Dodgers is that Friedman and the front office are trying to build a young versatile roster that is going to be good for a very long time. Kemp will be thirty-four years old in September and is also signed for next season. The Dodgers have plenty of good young outfielders who can round out the left field position.
Kike Hernandez is going to get most of the starts in left field against southpaws, so that fills half of the puzzle. For the everyday starter against right-handers, the Dodgers have two capable young options in Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo. Joc Pederson is also still hanging on for his Dodger life, that he seemed to extend in last year’s World Series. Either of Joc, Verdugo, or Toles would be much better left field options than Matt Kemp. Not only short-term but potentially for a long time since Joc is the oldest of the three and will be twenty-six years old in April.
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Matt Kemp is off to a pretty good start this spring, so the Dodgers could give him a shot to prove himself in the regular season or boost his trade value. In all likelihood, the Dodgers are hoping he boosts his trade value since dealing him away remains the best option for the 2018 Dodgers. While Kemp will always be a fan favorite since he was one of the lone bright spots of the McCourt era, it would be best if Friedman once again found a way to deal him away.