On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds released 2-time former Los Angeles Dodger, Matt Kemp, from their organization. The rebuilding Reds didn’t see him as a good clubhouse fit with what they wish to build. Being short a right-handed bat, the Dodgers should reunite with Kemp once more.
It’s no secret the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently at a slight disadvantage against left-handed pitching. They were previously balancing the line-up with even numbers of their best right-hand and left-handed batters. With the indefinite loss of A.J. Pollock to the Injured List, the Dodgers are left with utilizing Joc Pederson, who has only able to hit righties and a struggling Chris Taylor to fill the void.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) May 4, 2019
The Dodgers could use another quality right-handed bat.
At a glance, Matt Kemp is struggling this year. Through 60 at-bats, he has slashed .200/.210/.283 with just 1 home run and 5 RBI. Additionally, he too is on the IL with a broken rib, but is likely to be back quicker than Pollock. At 34 years old, Kemp is also a liability in the outfield, but as his ribs will tell you, he gives it his all.
Despite his challenges this year, Kemp’s upside is pretty good. To begin with, he has hit lefties to a tune of .314/.373/.538 over his 14 year career. He’s also been very comfortable in general at Dodger Stadium, slashing .285/.339/.492 against all pitching there. In fact, he tends to hit well at all the stadiums in the National League West, his lowest batting average being .277 in Arizona. Lastly, he is respectable .281 hitter with runners in scoring position over his career. The Dodgers are already paying a $3.5 million portion of Matt Kemp’s salary in 2019, another $555,000 is a bargain for what he could offer.
No, Matt Kemp’s numbers this year have not been great. His power appears down, he’s slower in the outfield and yes, he’s currently injured. However, if you look at it through his lens though, his struggles, at least in part, have to be psychological. He was traded away from a city and team he loves, a team that will once again be competing for a shot at the Fall Classic; to a team that’s rebuilding, a team and city that’s is likely very different than that of Los Angeles. A move like that this late in his career would be demoralizing and its effects would show on the field.
Matt Kemp may not be the player he once was, but rejuvenated by the reunion and the opportunity to end his career where it started, could spark something really special.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-welcoming-matt-beaty-cody-bellinger-stats-with-rick-krajewski-and-more-cody-thoughts-episode-55-blue-heaven-podcast/2019/05/03/” type=”big” color=”red”] Dodgers Podcast: Interview with Matt Beaty, plus stats with Rick Krajewski[/button]