MLB Hot Stove Analysis: Matt Kemp’s Eight-Year $160 Million Extension

The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to terms with MVP candidate Matt Kemp on a eight-year $160 million extension. For a franchise that has been high on drama and low on good news lately, this deal will keep the team’s best position player in a Dodger uniform through his prime, without getting too deep into his late-30s.

While it is easy to get caught up in the years and dollars attached to the contract, I would first remind fans that this was an extension of a player under team control for one more season, not a free agent. As such, Kemp likely would have earned at least $15 million in arbitration this season, making the hypothetical free agent contract a more manageable seven years and $145 million. When one considers what Carl Crawford (7/$142 million), Jayson Werth (7/$126 million) and Matt Holliday (7/$120 million) received as older, free agent outfielders who play corner positions, this deal looks that much better.

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Matt Kemp Should Catch a Ton of Crap for His Flaunt Magazine Shoot

Every once in a while, a player will agree to do a photo shoot that is certain to result in endless criticism from fans and their teammates.  Some of the most extreme instances include the Kobe Bryant white hot photo shoot and Andre Ethier’s spread, both of which were done for LA Times Magazine.  More recently, we had Mark Sanchez channel his inner Tom Brady and go all out for GQ.  This may come as a surprise, but Matt Kemp has outdone them all.

Kemp recently let it all — too much of it, in fact — hang out for a photo shoot with Flaunt Magazine.  This is the first I’m hearing of Flaunt Magazine, but after hearing the name and seeing the Kemp photos that Vin Scully is My Homeboy passed along I’m pretty confident I don’t need to become an avid reader.  Here are the Matt Kemp Flaunt Magazine pictures, and all of you Seinfeld fans out there can only keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t move.

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Dodgers Could Complete Rare Hat Trick: MVP and Cy Young on Last-Place Team

The Dodgers have been a pathetic team this season. A good amount of their problems are due to the ownership situation that has turned fans against Frank McCourt. But as bad as the Dodgers are (55-67 as of Thursday), they still have some truly talented players.

Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw have been so good they have a legitimate shot at becoming the 18th pair of teammates to win the MVP and Cy Young Award. If they were to take home the hardware, it would mark the first time a losing team had players win both awards. What’s even more embarrassing is that the Dodgers are battling the Padres for last place in the NL West.

Center fielder Matt Kemp has played like an MVP-candidate since the season began. He’s fourth in the NL in OPS (.966), tied for third with 28 home runs, tied for second with 89 RBIs, and third with 32 stolen bases. The only factors that could keep him from winning MVP are his sometimes shaky defense, and the lack of support from voters because he plays for a losing team.

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Kemp Confuses James Loney for Rihanna

A little too close for comfort in my opinion. Yes, that’s James Loney in the front and Matt Kemp in the back during the celebration after Loney’s game-winning walk off home run to beat the Mets in the 13th on Saturday. Kemp had just wrestled Loney to the ground and got caught in that position before hammering him with a few kidney shots. The whole on-ground scene only lasted a few seconds, but it was long enough to give us our best suggestive male athlete on male athlete pose since Rex Grossman. Nice going guys!

Laziness the Root of Matt Kemp Benching

It feels like we just went through the issue of center fielders being too lazy and not hustling. Last time it was Evan Longoria calling out his teammate for loafing it. With the Dodgers, it looks like one of their coaches said something to center fielder Matt Kemp about his lack of hustle. Kemp was benched on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, causing a local stir. No reason was given for the benching but Ken Gurnick said on Tuesday night it was the result of a disagreement Kemp had with a coach. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times confirmed Gurnick’s report and added a few details:

In the first inning of the 9-4 victory over the New York Yankees [Saturday], Derek Jeter drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. Because Kemp wasn’t backing up the bag, Jeter was able to advance to third base when catcher Russell Martin made an errant throw.

When Schaefer later reminded Kemp of what he should have done on the play, Kemp responded by saying that he was playing too deep to get there in time. Schaefer told him said that regardless, his duty was to charge in as soon as Martin let go of the ball. That prompted Kemp to tell Schaefer to leave him alone.

Kemp’s too good to let a little thing like that be an issue. As a batter, you can smash a line drive but you can’t help if it gets caught. At least when it comes to backing people up and hustling, that is the one thing you can control. There’s no excuse for Kemp not doing his part regarding those duties.

Matt Kemp’s benching linked to argument with Dodgers’ bench coach [LA Times]
Benched Kemp enters as sub for Manny [Dodgers.com]

The Chinese Fascinated by Matt Kemp

Back in January, I told you about the Padres and Dodgers venturing to China for an exhibition series. Well, they’ve long since returned to the States, playing two regular season games apiece. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp may not have worked his way onto Joe Torre’s list of favorites just yet, but seems like he was a big hit in China as he told Fox Sports Radio’s Andrew Siciliano:

We didn’t really venture off too much. We didn’t have a lot of time on our hands to do a lot of things but, we walked around a little bit. They were looking at me kind of crazy, as this big old black dude walking around China. They were looking at me crazy.

Come on Matt, they watch Yao and the Rockets in China all the time. You really think they haven’t seen 6’2″ 230lb black guys before? Well, maybe not too many of them in person. But seriously, I have a Filipino friend who traveled to the homeland and dude told me he was like a rock star walking around the shopping mall. He’s only like 5’6″. Kemp’s 6’2″. No wonder.