One week ago, I wrote a piece about how Matt Kemp would be a boneheaded move for the Padres to make. However, San Diego obviously didn’t see that article because they went ahead and made that deal already. A.J. Preller acquired Kemp along with catcher Tim Federowicz from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland and one other farm hand.
Woohoo! The Padres finally got their big bat! Yay! Light up the cigars and open the champagne! Well, don’t do that just yet. These Friars are still far from top notch.
Kemp is a big talent and there is no sense in arguing with that fact. Any team would be lucky to have someone like him on their roster. However, a deal for Kemp would’ve been more suited for a team right on the cusp of great things. Teams like the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays or Texas Rangers would have been a better fit for a move like this.
With the Padres, Kemp is the centerpiece of the team. He’s going to be the one to sell jerseys, be in promotional advertisements and keep the turnstiles ringing. But there’s a difference between selling tickets and winning ballgames.
While in Los Angeles, Kemp had the luxury of having big protection around him in the lineup. Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez all padded the Dodgers’ star studded lineup around Kemp.
Who protects Kemp while with the Padres? Jedd Gyorko? Carlos Quentin? Yonder Alonso? Yangervis Solarte? The Chicken? (Only if the late Pitchers won’t be forced to give Kemp a pitch to hit and hit numbers will dip, maybe not drastically but they will take a hit.
Can Kemp handle losing in San Diego? Kemp is coming from an organization that did everything to win (Which, in an ironic twist, ended up meaning him having to leave) that has put it’s former issues behind them. The Padres have more issues ahead of them than behind them. They have a lot more work to do. Kemp is known for having a bit of an ego at times and losing has sparked some interesting words from him in the past.
With so many questions regarding the Padres I find it hard to wrap my head around this deal. They still need help at third base, first base, shortstop and are now with a big question mark at catcher.
Let’s be realistic here. Are they going to compete in 2015?
They’re in a better position to do so but it would take a really good Hollywood writer to craft a story that leads to the Padres beating out the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants for the top spots in the National League West.
A few years from now they’re going to be a lot better suited to take on the big boys but by that time their new star, currently 30-years old, will be older and, as always, less productive.
Kemp sells tickets and T-shirts and that’s great but right now, that’s not what the Padres need right now. They have a lot of work to do and it’s hard to imagine them packing it all into one off season.