Case for Kemp:
Since his reacquisition, Kemp has already made it further with the team than what was expected. Many believed Kemp would be immediately dealt, yet he is still with the team and making a strong case to be the starting left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His first impression back with the team was a good one as Kemp looked to transform his body before arriving at Camelback Ranch. This did a lot for his perception. Letting the organization know he was not the same player he was that they traded away.
He was willing to do what was necessary. Now reports are showing Kemp is a lot more responsive to coaches and a better clubhouse presence. He has also performed well this spring. Hitting the cover off the ball. His defense should be improved with his new body and Kemp could be very deadly force in left field.
Case against Kemp:
Yes, his body has made improvements that will help his defense. Even if he does improve, he is still a defensive liability. An improvement over last season is not really saying much. Kemp posted a -17 DRS for the Braves last season and has never really been a stout defender since his injuries started.
Which brings me to my next point. It’s going to be tough to trust Kemp to stay healthy over the entire length of the season. He will be splitting time, even if he does get the job but, his health has been a problem as of late.
My heart says yes, my brain says no. Kemp was a fan favorite and seeing his vintage swing putting balls over the fence this spring makes me want to see him out there even more. It’d be nice to see him playing every day for the Dodgers, but defense, injury history and the risk of stunting the growth of younger and deserving outfielders make this a difficult choice.