After essentially using the first half of the 2014 season to work his way back from offseason ankle surgery and round into form, Matt Kemp emerged as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ best player not named Clayton Kershaw in the second half of the season.
Post All-Star break, Kemp hit .309/.365/.606 with 17 home runs and 54 RBIs. Despite his production and value to the Dodgers, Kemp was deemed expendable as a result of the crowded outfield situation with pieces that didn’t, perhaps still don’t, completely fit well together.
In a recent interview on “Larry King Now,” Kemp was asked for his assessment of the trade, which he views as a win-win for both the Dodgers and San Diego Padres:
Honestly, you don’t know what the front office thinks they need. Maybe they felt like they needed another catcher, maybe they felt like they needed another arm. I guess it was good for both sides. The Dodgers got what they want and the Padres got what they want.”
As for his string of injuries over the last few seasons, Kemp doesn’t believe he’s deserving of an “injury prone” label:
Definitely not injury prone. I did a lot. I put my body on the line for the Dodgers, I did a lot for them. Stealing bases, running into the walls and sometimes I think that stuff catches up to you. And it was well worth it, it was a good ride. I enjoyed all my moments with the Dodgers and I would never regret anything.”
Since coming in second place to Ryan Braun in the infamous 2011 NL MVP race, Kemp had yet to play more than 106 games in a season prior to 2014. Although Kemp heads to San Diego with arthritic hips, he has momentum on his side and the Padres have a security blanket of sorts with the Dodgers being on the hook for a substantial amount of Kemp’s remaining salary.