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Tag:Matt Kemp
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm
 

R.I.P. Dodgers: Divorce drama dominates

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

Things looked promising after 2009, when the Dodgers won their second consecutive National League West title and made it two straight trips to the NLCS.

And yet somehow, by the time camp broke in 2010, it was clear that this was a team that was in for a long season. The ongoing divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt had generated sensational headlines and hamstrung the team financially. Without financial flexibility, general manager Ned Colletti was unable to add the pitching the Dodgers needed.

The result was an 80-82 season filled with frustration and distractions, and one of baseball’s proudest franchises is in trouble if the ownership mess isn’t straightened out soon.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Pitching was an issue throughout the season, as there wasn’t enough in the rotation to back up Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw (though Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise) and the bullpen caused as many fires as it put out. George Sherrill collapsed, and closer Jonathan Broxton pitched himself out of a job.

Manny Ramirez The offensive picture might have been a lot different if their $20 million slugging outfielder had shown up, figuratively or literally. Instead of vintage Manny Ramirez, they ended up with a post-suspension slap hitter who seemed dedicated to finding ways not to play baseball. He had just 196 at-bats and hit eight homers, not exactly what the Dodgers were hoping for.

Ramirez wasn’t alone as a distraction. Coming off a big season, Matt Kemp saw his batting average drop nearly 50 points, looked lost at times in the outfield after winning a Gold Glove the year before, and was constantly in a beef with someone. He clashed with teammates, coaches and staff.

Russell Martin continued to struggle with his injuries, and Andre Ethier broke his finger in May and never was the same. Rafael Furcal and Vicente Padilla also spent time on the DL.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Ethier took steps forward despite his finger issue, and Kershaw and Billingsley stepped up. Hong-Chih Kuo was a revelation in relief, and he and rookie Kenley Jansen give the Dodgers some good options at the end of the pen in the future.

Beyond that, good news was pretty tough to find.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The minor-league ranks were thinned when Colletti, badly misreading his club’s potential, decided the Dodgers were still in contention and shipped out a ton of players in trades for Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Octavio Dotel – none of whom was signed past 2010.

Colletti’s shopping spree didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The closest they have to actual help from the minors is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who upped his stock in a big way this season.
 
Frank McCourt EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

It will depend almost entirely on what happens with the McCourt mess.  The team could be tied up in court and financially hamstrung. Commissioner Bud Selig or the courts could force the McCourts to sell, giving the team a new lease on the future.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Dodgers have got some decisions to make.

One is on Matt Kemp. They need to get everybody into a room and work this thing out once and for all, or cut their losses and just admit they can’t get along. He has trade value.

Another is Martin. He’s just not the same player he was a couple of years ago, and now he’s coming off hip surgery and he could make as much as $7 million in arbitration. With the promising A.J. Ellis on board, they might be better off trading Martin before he puts up another .248/.347/.332 and loses all his value.

Word is that Lilly is open to returning, and that would be money well-spent -- they don’t want to enter next season short in the rotation again.

2011 PREDICTION

The McCourts’ drama shows no sign of abating, and even if they put the team on the market tomorrow, it’s unlikely a sale could be completed in time to solidify the Dodgers’ situation in time to help 2011. An unproven, rookie manager, plenty of drama – this doesn’t look like the recipe for immediate success. Tough to see the Dodgers finishing better than third in the division.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Posted on: September 16, 2010 6:02 pm
 

Dodgers bench coach doesn't see Torre returning

So, apparently Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer felt like talking when he appeared on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern.

Here's what he had to say, according to Bowden's Twitter account :

Bowden Tweet

Some interesting stuff -- it's not exactly Earth-shattering that he doesn't believe Joe Torre will return to the Dodgers next season.

As for his statement about Manny Ramirez, the numbers back him up -- in the first 27 games of 2009, Ramirez hit .348/.492/.641 with six homers and in the 77 after the 50-game suspension, he hit .269/.389/.492 with 13 home runs.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 16, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 4:03 pm
 

This week in free stuff: Aug. 16-22


Monday, Aug. 16
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- Stan Musial bobblehead. Bar none, the best giveaway this week. If you didn't read Joe Posnanski's article on Musial in Sports Illustrated a couple of weeks ago, stop what you're doing and read it now.

Tuesday, Aug. 17
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Matt Kemp bobblhead
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) -- Kevin Youkilis bobblehead.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League) -- Mike Schmidt batting practice t-shirt

Wednesday, Aug. 18
Reading Phillies (Eastern League) -- Ryan Howard model wooden bat
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- notebook. Did you know some kids are back in school? Crazy, doesn't it seem early for that? Maybe because I went to a college that was on quarters, so I haven't been in school in August in 17 years.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers (New York-Penn League) -- Polk High T-shirt. It's Ed O'Neill night, and for now he'll be remembered as Al Bundy, but another year of Modern Family as good as the first and people will forget that.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- soup bowl. OK.

Thursday, Aug. 19
Pittsburgh Pirates -- t-shirt thursday. It's a good simple, baseball with logo. I like it.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- Miles Austin bobblehead. Honoring Monmouth University's most famous football star -- it's odd for a Cowboy to be honored in Eagles country. Or maybe they'll cheer when they break the bobblehead's neck. For safety's sake, he'll be in a Monmouth uniform.

Friday, Aug. 20
Delmarva Shorebirds (South Atlantic League) -- Fernando Guerrero bobble boxing gloves. The NABO middleweight title holder not only has his own bobble (the head doesn't bobble, his gloves do), he'll also be there to sign autographs.
Sacramento River Cats (Pacific Coast League) -- California governor bobblehead. You can choose -- and make your vote known -- Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown.
San Antonio Missions (Texas League) -- koozie
St. Lucie Mets (Florida State League) -- banana phone.  A phone. Shaped like a banana. Kids, back in the old days we only had to have a cord for a phone and it was wired to our house. And if we were out of the house, nobody could answer it.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (South Atlantic League) -- Meterorologist bobblehead winner -- two WBTW Frank Johnson and WMBF's Rob Hatchell held an online vote and the winner got a bobblehead in their likeness and fans get a bobblehead of a weatherman.
Potomac Nationals (Carolina League) -- Drew Storen bobblehead.
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- Tiger Stadium replica. You know, that old place. That old, awesome place.
Vancouver Canadians (Northwest League) -- trucker cap
Missoula Osprey (Frontier League) -- 1910 Firefighter bobblehead

Saturday, Aug. 21
Pittsburgh Pirates -- Crawfords cap. I love when teams honor the Negro League teams from their city.
Kansas City Royals -- jersey cooler. You know, a cooler that looks like a Royals jersey.
Minnesota Twins -- lunch box. Always a favorite.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- spring training replica stadium. The new one, not the old one.
Las Vegas 51s (Pacific Coast League) -- Frank Caliendo bobblehead. The latest in the team's series of unfunny comedians.
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) -- Snuggie-type blanket
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas League) -- aluminum bottle
Asheville Tourists (South Atlantic League) -- Roy Williams bobblehead. Apparently there are no Duke fans in Asheville. Oddly enough, all four people I know from Asheville went to UNC. Go figure.
Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League) -- Crawdads jersey
Rome Braves (South Atlantic League) -- lunch box
South Bend Silver Hawks (Midwest League) -- koozie
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League) -- football. I'll forgive them going football because their new logo is so awesome -- it's an old-school M's trident design turned on its side to make an E.

Sunday, Aug. 22
New York Yankees -- Yankees banner
Oakland A's -- Alteticos T-Shirt day. A yellow baseball shirt with the team's Spanish name.
Florida Marlins -- Billy the Marlin lunch cooler
Philadelphia Phillies -- Cole Hamels lunch bag cooler. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
St. Louis Cardinals -- Chris Carpenter bobblehead. It fights like a man, no bobblelegs here.
Corpus Christi (Texas League) -- metal lunch boxes.
Wilmington Blue Rocks (South Atlantic League) -- Harry Kalas bobblehead. A couple of years ago, I was in front of Kalas at the soda dispenser at the ballpark and kind of fumbled my cup. Kalas said something to me, and I said, "well, now I can tell everyone I've had Harry Kalas do play-by-play of my error." He laughed and I got a good story out of it.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) -- Bracket Busters bobblehead. I have no idea what this means, but the team's website says it has something to do with the NFL.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




Posted on: August 13, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 1:22 pm
 

Agent: Maybe Dodgers should trade Kemp

Matt Kemp The controversy embroiling star youngster Matt Kemp took another step forward Thursday night, as the Los Angeles Times ' Bill Plaschke spoke to former Athletics pitching standout Dave Stewart, who is Kemp's agent.

At the end of June, Kemp was benched for three days amid controversy of Kemp blowing up at a coach after coaches kept trying to get him to maintain his focus on the field. Sounds like Kemp's in the wrong here, right?

Sure, except that third-base coach Larry Bowa and bench coach Bob Schaefer took to the public airwaves to voice dissatisfaction with Kemp -- which has put Kemp in an untenable situation. And it's to the point where Stewart thinks Kemp might be best served with a trade out of town.

"It's almost like it's open season on Matt, and it's not right," Stewart said. I'm almost to the point -- and maybe so are the Dodgers -- where I'm thinking that this just isn't going to work. The Dodgers have gaps on this team, and maybe they could fill them by trading Matt. It could be good for the team, and good for the player."

The latest controversy came after the 25-year-old star was benched for two games. In his return, he displayed what has become standard fare for Kemp: helping the team win, then making a boneheaded play. On Thursday, a two-run home run pushed the Dodgers' lead to seven in a game they would eventually blow . Kemp then stood at the plate in the eighth, not running out a blooper down the right-field line that he claims he did not see. The ball fell fair, and Kemp had to race to first base on what would have been a sure double.

"Everything was fine until suddenly Schaefer and Bowa start getting on him publicly," said Stewart, who broke in with the Dodgers as a player. "On those great Dodger teams of the past, you would never read about a player being trashed like Matt's been trashed."

Kemp certainly isn't a slouch, as his .263/.319/.458 line with 19 home runs put him among the top echelon of Dodgers offensive performers, even if it's a far cry from 2009's 26 homers and .297/.352/.490 line.

After 2009's breakthrough season, Kemp inked a two-year, $10.95 million deal that covers the first two years of arbitration. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he made Kemp promise not to lose his focus after signing the deal, but Kemp has regressed, lacking focus on the field. Why? As Plaschke says, "as the expectations have mounted, his joyful play has receded. He just doesn't seem mature enough to handle the burden."

So is Stewart right? Is a trade out of L.A., where Kemp's confidence in his superiors have diminished, the best thing?

"No, I have no plans to trade him," said Colletti, reaffirming previous opinions on the subject.. "He's got a chance to be one of the best players in the history of the franchise."

For Kemp to live up to that potential, though, both sides need to get on the same page. And fast.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 18, 2010 3:09 pm
 

Kemp staying in Los Angeles

Matt Kemp If you were a general manager and had a chance to acquire a 25-year-old center fielder who is in the middle of his fifth major-league season with a cumulative line of .291/.340/.477 with 100 stolen bases and in the middle of a season that will see him hover around 100 RBI, 100 runs, 30 homers and 30 stolen bases, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity to acquire him? Wouldn't anyone?

Of course. That's why Ned Colletti of the Dodgers has no intention of making Matt Kemp available.

"He's a gifted, five-tool player. He's getting better and better. He's had a tough couple of months," Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times . "It's a baseball career. It's not a baseball two months. I have no intention of moving him."

Kemp has come under fire the last two months for hitting a cumulative .221/.269/.396 since June 1. He was benched for three days straight after blowing up when constantly reminded about doing the little things in the game (such as backing up second on a throw), as Shaikin notes. Kemp had to approach Torre and clear the air instead of having the manager approach him.

That disconnect between Kemp and the old-school management is what fuels the fire of a trade -- and will continue to do so until or when a new ownership or management group comes in with a grasp on how to approach players like Kemp.

Shaikin compares Torre's strategy to that of Mike Scioscia, manager of the Angels. The latter would have reamed Kemp out privately, moved on and checked in with Kemp later on the field. Torre did neither.

That's not to say Torre doesn't think Kemp can't evolve into an impact player -- just that he needs to start trying.

"When you have talent, a lot of times you let your talent take care of you," Torre said. "That's an adjustment you have to make. You need to grow with your ability."

"The one thing he's proven to me is he continually wants to get better," Torre added. "He ran into a roadblock in June. He wasn't getting better. It frustrated the hell out of him."

Both sides believe that Kemp's career in Los Angeles can still work out. Both sides just need to give it time.

The fact that both sides are unhappy with his production when his numbers dwarf what many can cobble together just goes to show how much of a talent Kemp is, and how important it is to L.A. that the talent be realized in Dodger blue.

Don't bet on a Kemp trade any time soon.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 29, 2010 11:13 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 11:15 pm
 

After three-day benching, Kemp returns to lineup


Matt Kemp After being benched Tuesday, taking Matt Kemp's benching to three consecutive days, Kemp wondered what was up, so asked to speak to manager Joe Torre.

Now, Kemp will be in the lineup Wednesday against the Giants.

While neither would talk about why the center fielder was benched, a witness told MLB.com that Kemp had blown up at a coach in the dugout during Saturday's game. The benching then began the following day.

Torre refused to speculate on whether Kemp would have been in the lineup Wednesday had the 25-year-old not requested the meeting. "I don't know that," Torre said about Wednesday's lineup. "I thought the talk went well.

"I get the chance to write the lineup every day and I put in who I put in," Torre added.

"I don't make the lineup," Kemp said about the situation. "I just come here ready to play every day. If I'm in the lineup, I'm ready to go. If not, I'm still ready to go."

Kemp has struggled in 2010 after setting high expectations the season prior. He hit .297/.352/.490 with 26 home runs, winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. This year, he's at .258/.316/.455 and has plunged to a .196/.252/.326 line.

"I did everything I needed to do to have as good a season as I did last year," Kemp said about his struggles. "I've still got a whole half-season to turn this thing around and for us to do all the great things we did last year."

Torre sympathized, saying the season has clearly been frustrating for Kemp and played up the three-game benching. "Hopefully these days will give him a chance to breathe a bit," he noted. "It's a tough game to play. He's a young man and you don't get a chance to regroup. He's played so much. It just looks like he's frustrated."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com