Dodgers OF Matt Kemp might open season in starting lineup

Matt Kemp (Getty Pictures)

Starting in left area for the Los Angeles Dodgers … Matt Kemp?

That state of affairs appeared most unlikely when the Dodgers introduced again the veteran outfielder for his second stint with the group. The Dodgers acquired Kemp in a 5-participant cope with the Braves in December in an accounting transfer to assist them keep beneath the $197 million luxurious tax for 2018. 

Kemp was not even anticipated to be in LA this season, however the Dodgers discovered no takers for his two-yr, $forty three.5 million contract.

But Kemp has been turning heads in camp. Rely supervisor Dave Roberts amongst those that have been pleasantly stunned.

“Once we acquired him, we did not know what sort of form he was in,” Roberts stated (by way of the Los Angeles Occasions). “We went on what he appeared like final yr. … The best way he got here in initially made a press release in itself.”

The 33-yr-previous Kemp, who performed 9 years for the Dodgers earlier than leaving as a free agent after the 2014 season, is tied for the staff lead this spring with 4 residence runs. He has a powerful 1.091 OPS in 36 at-bats.

Roberts wouldn’t say whether or not Kemp has even earned a spot on the roster, however stated he is proven he is greater than a platoon participant in left subject.

“Completely,” Roberts stated. “That is the factor with Matt. In ‘sixteen, he dominated left-handers, and in ’17, it was the opposite approach. He is undoubtedly not, nor has he ever been, a platoon man. It is simply extra of the appropriate state of affairs utilizing him and the opposite guys the correct method. You take a look at that place, 650 plate appearances, it is our job to determine easy methods to divvy these issues up.”

For his half, Kemp stated he did what wanted to be achieved in the offseason.

“I am a grown man. I wanted to get in higher form,” Kemp stated. “I did it. I really feel higher. It simply feels good to be again sporting this uniform.”

So whereas this is probably not the identical Kemp who made a few All-Star groups and gained two Gold Gloves in his first stint in LA, his massive bat (259 profession house runs, .826 OPS) makes a fantastic staff even higher.

“Whenever you make the commerce, and also you take a look at the season that guys had final yr, and who we had coming again, we have been already an excellent staff with out Matt,” Roberts stated. “However to have a former All-Star in nearly as good a form he has been in in years, and so as to add him to the combination, it solely will increase the extent of competitors and play for everybody round him. That is good for all of us.”