The Dodgers will be getting one of their biggest offensive contributors back soon. Real soon.
“I check marked everything, and I’m ready to go.” -@therealmattkemp
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 29, 2014
He’s almost all the way back and he sounds ready to go for the 2014 season. Matt Kemp, playing Center Field for the home opening game, April 4th. That just sounds right, doesn’t it? Yep. We all saw how the team won down under in Sydney versus the hated Diamondbacks, and exploded for 10 runs in 2 games with the help of Scott Van Slyke, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, A.J. Ellis, Juan Uribe, Dee Gordon, Justin Turner and Mike Baxter. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are great, but there’s no way any player in the first group of position players are better baseball players than Matt Kemp. Nope, not even Adrian Gonzalez. One could even make a strong argument that Kemp is a better player than Yasiel Puig, but that’s another argument.
The point here is, after missing most of 2013 with hamstring injuries, a shoulder injury, and a horrid ankle injury, he may finally be okay. Given the massive resurgence of Hanley Ramirez, we can see that the deadly labrum surgery may finally be fixable. Because of his lower body injuries, he may be far less mobile than before, but you know what? That’s perfectly fine with me as long as not running as much keeps him on the field, because man, can he hit.
You’d be hard pressed to find a .293/.350/.493 on today’s open market. Guys who hit like that AND play centerfield are special baseball players. Andre Ethier (while still good) is in decline, Carl Crawford is what he is, a 2-3 win OF (nothing wrong with that). But assuming Matt Kemp can even return to his 2007-2009 form where he hit .303/.351/.483, that’d make for a strong #5 hitter in the Dodgers lineup.