It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t big fans of the way Matt Kemp carries himself. It has long been implied that Kemp is more concerned with being famous than he is with being a good baseball player. One Dodgers exec even told a source close to me that Kemp was essentially clubhouse poison.
It should come as no surprise then that Kemp is making noise about wanting a big contract extension. Despite negotiating a two-year deal this past winter, Kemp is already chirping about needing to be paid more. The 25-year-old is slated to be paid $6.5 million in 2011 and could be on pace to get as much as $10 million in 2010 via arbitration.
Never mind that, Kemp is apparently making it known that he wants a deal similar to that signed by Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis before the 2009 season. Markakis inked a six-year, $66.1 million deal with Baltimore.
While no one doubts that Kemp is one of the most naturally gifted players in all of baseball, what would a team really be getting by signing him for that much.
This season his numbers are down from his .297/.352/.490 slash line and 26 home runs and 101 RBI from 2009. Heading into Sunday’s game Kemp had a .252/.314/.440 slash-line, with 22 home runs and 74 RBI. He has also already topped his strikeout total from last year (139) by racking up 142 punch-outs, and has stolen just 18 bases in 32 attempts, where last year he stole 34 in 42 tries.
So at 25, all of his numbers are down. He’s also been criticized for dogging it in the outfield and not showing the defensive range he did last year.
While Markakis has certainly not lived up to the deal he signed, no one has ever questioned his effort.
If the Dodgers can get good value in return for Kemp this offseason or even before the trade deadline in 2011, they’ll definitely pull the trigger on a trade. Someone will overpay for Kemp based on his ridiculous tools and potential.
This winter will see Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth as the only big time outfielders on the free agent market. That could make Kemp very attractive.
With the way he’s carried himself with the Dodgers, don’t expect him to be in the organization’s future plans.
UPDATE: So it seems our first commenter thinks this piece is totally unsubstantiated. I decided to do a quick search on other sites, outside of our sources for some other info on the Kemp situation. So yeah, it took me three seconds to find this, this, this, this, and this. So yeah, if sources like CBS, NBC, the LA Times, etc. completely agree with us and you don’t think they’re reliable, then yes, this is a total hit piece.