When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Matt Kemp from the Atlanta Braves early in the offseason, they made it clear that the move was purely salary-based and that they would attempt to trade him.
Weeks went by without a deal coming to fruition, and that teams may not have interest in acquiring a 33-year-old who is among the worst defensive outfielders in all of baseball and also has had question marks surrounding his attitude in the clubhouse, isn’t much of a surprise.
As it currently stands, Kemp is in Spring Training camp with the Dodgers, and if they are unable to deal him by Opening Day, then he will compete for at-bats in left field.
That may not be the worst-case scenario by any means, as Kemp has still been a productive offensive player in recent years and he appeared to be in extremely good shape when he reported to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday.
One person who would be onboard with having Kemp on the team is Clayton Kershaw, who is confident the right-handed slugger is capable of contributing, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I’ve seen him at his best. I know how good he can be. I know he still has the ability to hit a baseball really well. I hope he gets the chance to prove that here.
“Obviously, Matt has something to prove and that’s awesome. He looks great right now. … If he’s healthy, his offensive abilities are unquestioned as far as what I’ve seen. If he can move around the outfield, catch some balls, he can be a big asset for us.”
Kemp was a two-time All-Star in his first stint with the Dodgers, finishing as the runner-up for National League MVP in 2011. As recently as 2016, he hit 35 home runs and drove in 108 runs to go along with an .803 on-base plus slugging percentage, so he clearly still has some left in the tank.
Whether or not he could be serviceable enough in left field will be the biggest question mark.