Shocked I say. Yeah. Kemp still injured? The hell you say?! Try not to faint from surprise.
So we’re about a few weeks away from the start of spring training, and everything is looking peachy keen for the Dodgers. Most of the hot stove work has been done already. Let’s see, Clayton Kershaw extension? Check. Resigning J.P. Howell, and Brian Wilson? Check. Resign Juan Uribe? Check. Miguel Rojas invite to spring training? Check of course. Michael Young guaranteed major league contract? Not yet, but we know it’s coming.
Now with all of that work already finished, we can just wait for spring training to start and hope that everyone returns from the long winter healthy and ready to play ball. If there is one Dodger we’re hoping to see a return to form it’s Matt Kemp.
Now Kemp has had two injury riddled years in a row. Talking about Matt Kemp’s inherent rustiness is a pretty sensitive subject. It’s touchy. Matt’s a little what’s the word I’m looking for here? Touchy. Yeah, that’s it. He’s touchy about his rustiness. If I ever get to interview Kemp, I’ll have to remember he doesn’t like to talk about it.
For good reason too. Afer finishing second in the NL MVP award in 2011, and leading the league in home runs, RBIs, and Runs scored, Kemp has had two injury plagued seasons in a row. He missed 56 games in 2012 with a strained hamstring. The same hamstring he strained again in 2013. (He strained the other hamstring too). Kemp missed 89 games in 2013 because of a myriad of injuries. He had a strained hamstring, sore shoulder, (a recurring injury from the 2012 death-defying crash into the Coors Field wall that left him with a torn labrum), and a nasty ankle injury that left him hobbled on crutches for months. Kemp played in just 106 games in 2012, and 73 games in 2013. Last season was like a perfect storm of rustiness for Kemp. This was after Kemp had played in 399 consecutive games before the rustiness hit him. The guy was an iron man. What the hell happened?
So you would think that this would be the year that Kemp returns to form healthy and raring to go. I mean we know he’s had the walking boot off for a while now. He’s walking normally again, and we heard he’s been lifting weights again like he would normally do during the offseason. Supposedly he’s even been swinging a bat. Then we get this little nugget delivered from Jon Morosi from Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart.
Stewart said he doesn’t think Kemp will be ready for 3/22 opener in Australia. “If the season opened April 1, I think Matt would be ready.”
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2014
Dave Stewart, agent for Matt Kemp, told me Kemp is swinging, running at 60%, and “getting close” to being himself after ankle surgery.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2014
Alrighty then. Running at 60 %? Oh brother, Kemp, baby, darling, we can’t be having the same dance again. So Kemp still isn’t ready? Are we going to have to put up with a third straight injury riddled season? How many times can one man be hurt? Is this how it’s going to be now for Kemp? Might as well change his mailing address to the disabled list. Kemp is no Wolverine I tell you what. The guy heals slower than Adrian Gonzalez runs the bases.
The Dodgers might actually have to trade him for reals if he can’t get it together. We had to listen to a litany of trade rumors involving Kemp throughout this whole hot stove season. It was annoying for sure, but that may end up being his fate if he can’t stay healthy. Then again, what team is going to want an injury riddled center fielder who can’t stay healthy and is making 21 million dollars a year. Wooooo doggy the Dodgers are paying him a lot of money.
What I don’t understand is what’s the difference between March 22nd, and April 1st? Is ten days going to make that much of a difference? Will Kemp be able to play at all this spring? It makes you wonder if we’ll ever see the old Kemp back again.
I love Kemp, I really do. I was against trading Kemp since the beginning, and I still am. However, I just can’t take another season plagued with rustiness and doctor visits. Seriously guys, I can’t take a third year in a row of this crap. Huge contract or no huge contract, a center fielder who never plays is useless to us.
This is it for me with Kemp. If he can’t get it together this year and at least play in 120 games then I’m afraid it may be time to figure out a way to move him.