Over the last two seasons, Yasiel Puig was what Matt Kemp used to be for the Los Angeles Dodgers — a promising outfielder capable of being a franchise cornerstone. However, for the former teammates, their arrival to the Majors was much different.
The Dodgers selected Kemp in the sixth round of the 2003 Draft and let him marinate in the Minors before debuting with the Dodgers in late-May 2006. Conversely, Puig was signed to a seven-year, $42 million contract in July 2013 as an unknown the size of Bo Jackson. Already teammates, their paths crossed once more last season when Puig eventually took over in center field.
Coinciding with the move, Kemp was placed in right field after a failed experiment in left. While the Dodgers managed to win 94 games and repeat as National League West division champions, rumors swirled of clubhouse disconnect.
When asked if he had issue with Kemp, Puig didn’t admit to such, but said he disagreed with Kemp’s claim to being the best outfielder in baseball, via Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
(Matt Kemp) stated he’s the best outfielder in the league, but I think there are better outfielders in this league.”
As he’s done since being traded at the Winter Meetings, Kemp passed on the opportunity to be critical of his former team:
That’s fine. I wish him all the best.”
Kemp and Puig were involved in a dugout shouting match during a September game at Coors field — though it was Kemp doing the yelling while Puig walked from one end of the dugout to the other.
With Kemp now gone, more pressure has been placed on Puig. As for Kemp’s penchant to lay claim to something, he said the San Diego Padres have the best outfield in baseball.
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