The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres made a blockbuster trade this offseason, when the Dodgers sent former All-Star and MVP runner-up Matt Kemp along with Tim Federowicz to their division rival in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two prospects.
The Padres were the most-active team this offseason, also completing trades for Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves, and Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays to complete their outfield makeover.
Kemp was among a handful of Padres position players to report for Spring Training early last week and on Wednesday he asked which team had the best outfield in baseball. After being told it was between the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins, Kemp offered his opinion, via Lyle Spencer of MLB.com:
Kemp shook his head. “No,” he said, firmly. “It’s right here. Right here in San Diego. You can write it down — and print it.”
Despite a 77-85 record in 2014, the Padres have completely rebuilt their team heading into this season and Kemp believes that they have enough to win the National League West:
Hey, nobody expected the Royals to do what they did, right? Why not us? We’ve got the talent in this room to get it done. It’s just a matter of going out and making it happen.”
Kemp had a strong second half last season, seemingly once he finally managed to get healthy. He batted .309 after the All-Star break with 17 homers and 54 RBIs to finish the season with 25 homers and 89 RBIs.
Upton, a two-time All-Star, had a strong season of his own in Atlanta last year — batting .270 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs. Myers was once the main prospect in the Rays-Royals trade that sent James Shields (who is now his teammate in San Diego) to Kansas City.
After being called up in June 2013, he batted .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games, which was good enough to earn him American League Rookie of the Year honors. The 24-year-old Myers, who will likely play centerfield in San Diego, was limited to 87 games in 2014 due to a right wrist injury.
Kemp won’t need to wait long to make his return to Dodger Stadium as the Padres face the Dodgers for a three-game set beginning on Opening Day (April 6).
Yasmani Grandal Discusses Matt Kemp Trade, Health Of His Knee