If you don’t know who “Beast Mode” is then let me give you a short introduction to catch you up. “Beast Mode” is Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp has returned home to play for the Dodgers, or at least he hopes to. Kemp last played for the Dodgers in 2014 before being traded to the San Diego Padres. After playing a full season in San Diego he was traded in 2016 to the Atlanta Braves, “a real baseball town” as Kemp said. There he finished the 2016 season and stayed the entire 2017 season. Then out of nowhere, a blockbuster trade between the Dodgers and the Braves brought Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles. Meanwhile the Dodgers sent fan favorite Adrian Gonzalez to Atlanta along with Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Charlie Culberson.
I will be the first to say, I was wrong. I doubted Matt Kemp and thought he would instantly be traded away although that could still happen. Coming into Spring Training I wouldn’t of thought that Kemp would do as good as he’s currently doing. Matt Kemp is hitting .423 with 4 home runs, 7 rbi’s and doing this in 26 at bats. These are certainly impressive numbers for someone that many people thought had lost it, including myself. Matt Kemp’s only downside is his defense. He’s no longer the gold glove caliber defender that he used to be in 2009 and 2011. Nonetheless, you’re still getting a good power hitter. In his career, Matt Kemp is sitting on 259 home runs, 920 rbis and a .285 batting average. If he puts up an all-star caliber year, we may see Kemp achieve his 300th home run and his 1000th rbi.
When Matt Kemp was traded, many people were mad, some were a bit emotional and others were glad to see that he got traded. Lets break this down for each scenario. The people that were mad were mad because the Dodgers had traded one of their star players to a team within the same division. Imagine if the Astros traded George Springer to the Texas Rangers. Pandemonium. The fans that were sad were sad because a superstar who was drafted by the Dodgers and was a for sure fan favorite had left the team. Finally we look at the fans that were excited that Matt Kemp had been traded. These were the fans who looked at Kemp like he was one of the reasons the Dodgers had tough times in the clubhouse with team chemistry. After Kemp received his 8 year/$160 million contract, lots of critics said that he started to get lazy. By the way, that contract ends after the 2019 season. Anyways, critics thought that the Los Angeles lifestyle started to get to Kemp and started to make him arrogant. This was an attitude that had to be dealt with and unfortunately Kemp was traded.
Fast forward four years. Matt Kemp is back in Dodger blue. He’s out there in Spring Training and tearing it up. It seems like every other day you get the notification on your phone or you see on the news that Matt Kemp has hit another home run in a Spring Training game. This is because he has to prove himself and fight to be the starting left fielder for the Dodgers. Kemp said, “I need to prove to everybody I can still play defense and help the team win”. Like I mentioned in my previous post, there’s only one spot available in the outfield and with four or five guys fighting for it, this will be a fun competition.
Regardless if Matt Kemp stays in Los Angeles to play for the Dodgers, it sure is nice seeing him in Dodger blue again. I hope he can regain his 2011 form when he was robbed of the National League MVP award. Of course he won’t put up those monster numbers like that season but hopefully he can contribute to a team that is coming off a remarkable season and potentially win his first World Series with the team that originally drafted him. That would be a Hollywood ending for sure!