Dave Stewart, Matt Kemp’s agent caused a bit of a stir with comments that his client was open to being traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Stewart also mentioned Kemp’s desire to be placed back in center field and to play every day, though the outfielder himself has stated as much on multiple occasions.
Just over a week ago, manager Don Mattingly said he had no intentions of returning Kemp to center and reiterated that sentiment when recently asked about Stewart’s comments. Kemp echoed his agent’s statements concerning playing time, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
I want to play every day, if it’s with the Dodgers, if it’s with somebody else,” he said. “I love playing baseball, man. It’s what I love to do. I’m not here to sit and watch.”
The embattled outfielder also added he wants to remain with the Dodgers but acknowledged it isn’t something he can necessarily control:
I want to be here as long as they want me here. It’s not my decision.”
As for his deficiencies in center field, Kemp didn’t shy away from admitting to his mistakes:
I probably haven’t played defense as good as I’ve wanted to,” he said. “Of course not. We all see that. I’ve made a lot of errors this year, stupid errors I probably could have cut down on and maybe flagged some balls I probably could have flagged.”
Despite the distraction the crowded outfield and Kemp’s desires may cause, he said he doesn’t want this to become an issue:
I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. It’s not like, ‘I’m going to play center field or not going to play.’ It’s not the case.”
Kemp wasn’t in Saturday’s lineup, almost assuredly due to his low batting average against St. Louis Cardinals starter Joe Kelly than anything else. He did make a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning for Yasiel Puig, who was removed from the game with a sore left hand.
While more speculation and trade rumors are likely to heat up with the non-waiver trade deadline now just 12 days away, moving Kemp may prove difficult for the Dodgers. Excluding the remainder of this season’s salary, Kemp is owed $107 million over the next five years.
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