The addition of proven slugger Matt Kemp raised more than a few eyebrows among Padres fans. I must admit, my first thought was… NO, Not HIM! After the initial shock and thinking it over, I have come to a calm realization that he can return back to form.
The days of Matt Kemp patrolling center and winning Gold Gloves are all but gone, but he can be a solid defensive right fielder. Motivation is the key factor in keeping Kemp playing to his potential. He seems very happy in his new uniform, lets just hope it stays that way.
The loss of Grandal is big. He seemed to really turn the corner at the end of last season. His health remains the biggest questions. Wieland is a nice young starting pitcher and Eflin was moved to the Phillies for Jimmy Rollins. With Kemp comes unproven catcher Tim Federowicz, who has an outside chance at starting the season as Derek Norris backup.
Kemp has some injury concerns too. We all know about his hips, the media did all they could to not let us forget. It is a bit concerning, but I believe most professional athletes’ have a little bit of arthritis in their joints. It shouldn’t be something that prevents him from playing 145 plus games easily.
Matt Kemp’s 2011 season was magnificent. He finished second in MVP voting to Ryan Braun. That year Kemp hit 39 homeruns to go with 126 runs batted in. Batting .324 with .399 on base percentage and slugging .586. He also stole 40 bases to boot. At the age of 26, he was on top of the world.
Kemp was rewarded with an eight year-160 million dollar extension after the seasons completion. During the start of the 2012 season Kemp was once again on fire. He slugged his 11th homerun on April 28th and seemed poised to make a run at the MVP award again.
On May 14th 2012, he suffered a hamstring injury and his streak of 399 straight games played was snapped. Shoulder and knee injuries as well derailed his 2012 season and he finished at .303 23 homeruns and 69 runs batted in. He only managed 106 games that season.
2013 was full of shoulder and ankle injuries and he was never healthy all year long. Only 73 games played and a .270 average to go with six homeruns and 33 runs batted in. He seemed washed up at 28, and rumors circled around him that he just didn’t care enough.
That’s BS if you ask me! Injuries are part of the game, ask Yankee fans about Mickey Mantle and his knees. The act of playing 162 games is not easy, not easy at all. The wear and tear on a player can be immense. Matt Kemp has every opportunity to prove all the nay-sayers that he is indeed one of the best players in the game.
Matt Kemp is #1 on my list because we are committed to him long term. He needs to make a splash now. Please Matt, don’t take this opportunity lightly. The San Diego community would love to embrace you and call you their own. Prove everyone wrong. Prove the Dodgers wrong. Show us what an absolute stud you can be! GO GET SOME!
Next: Padres In On James Shields?
More from Friars on Base
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
- Padres got steal with Xander Bogaerts after Carlos Correa’s mega-deal
- Failed Padres top prospect makes stunning return with minor league deal