Blog Entry

Matt Kemp joining elite group with new deal

Posted on: November 14, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 4:28 pm
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Turns out, bankruptcy was a minor little inconvenience on the road to forever between the Dodgers and Matt Kemp: The two have agreed to an eight-year, $160 million contract extension pending the outfielder passing a physical examination, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Talk about a serious commitment. Only six men in baseball history had reached the $160-million mark: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez.

Now, Kemp.

For those with a sense of humor ... or a sense of irony ... Kemp's deal is for the same numbers -- years and dollars -- that Ramirez received from Boston before the 2001 season.

In becoming the face of the Dodgers for years to come and en route to serious MVP consideration, Kemp first had to blow past comeback player of the year.

It was barely more than a year ago when Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti delivered harsh criticism of Kemp's defense and focus.

But after the disappointment of 2010 came a sensational 2011 in which Kemp batted .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBI. He led the league in homers, RBIs, runs (115) and total bases (353), and he swiped 40 bases.

And in one more bit of irony, the man who now will remain in Hollywood will stay in part because he went a little less Hollywood last summer. Those close to Kemp do not think it is a coincidence that he took his game to a different level after his high-profile romance with Rihanna blew up.

"I think he has less distractions in his life -- from my perspective," third baseman Casey Blake, one of Kemp's closest friends on the 2011 team, told me late last summer. "This game, some guys can do it with a million things going on. But this game is tough enough by itself.

"It's a hard game, and it seems like you're always dealing with a lot of thoughts of failure. The more you can lessen those thoughts, the better. The fact that he doesn't have some of those distractions anymore. ..."

Blake told me he thought Kemp had made a conscious effort to simplify things in his life, and it worked.

"I think he was embarrassed by a lot of things," Blake said, referring to Kemp's 2010 season in which he batted just .249 with a .310 on-base percentage, 28 homers and 89 RBIs. "And he made up his mind he was going to get serious about it."

The off-field stuff, the Rihanna romance, "I think they all directly related," Blake said.

Blake could tell Kemp was more focused in 2011 from the first day of spring training.

"He showed it in his attitude and in his play," Blake said. "How he went about it, from day one.

"He's respecting the game a lot more this year. He has an understanding that to be a complete player, you can't take a day off -- whether it's on the bases, on defense, anywhere."

Today, that respect is coming right back at Kemp to the tune of $160 million ... and a trust the Dodgers are placing in him that maybe you can't even hang a price tag on.
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Comments

Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:06 am
 

Matt Kemp joining elite group with new deal

I am also wondering about the "young arms" someone mentioned.  Kershaw....check.   Umm....  yea....  (crickets)....ummm.  A better move would have been to have dealt Kemp for young talent.  But again, love that they spent all that money.  Kemp is quality.  Let's just hope he and Rhiannon dont get back together (worst stats of his career).



Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:54 am
 

Matt Kemp joining elite group with new deal

Please don't make comments about the health of a player if you don't know what you are talking about.  Matt Kemp has the longest current playing streak at 364 games.  Can't stay healthy, huh.  Yeah, right.



Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:58 pm
 

Matt Kemp joining elite group with new deal

AWESOME!  As  Giants fan, I could not have asked for a better transaction.  It is never good to sock THAT much money into one guy when the word "bankruptcy" is mentioned in the same sentence as your team.  AWESOME!  I will look forward to more years of futility from the worst organization in the MLB.



Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:11 am
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

When I see how much money is thrown at players with far less ability I have to believe that this is agreat move by the Dodgers, assuming that Kemp continues to play hard and doesn't phone it in post mega deal.  If Kemp can play like he did in 2011 for the next three or four years, which seems very likely given his age, then there isn't a hitter in the NL right I'd rather have, including Pujols, than him.  Nobody has a crystal ball but I don't think he's reverting back to 2010 numbers and even if he does we're still talking about a player with speed and power.  Good start moving forward and enhances the value of the team for the sale by McCourt.



Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 10:11 am
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

So this is whre baseball is going, or has been for years now.  Last year was his breakout year, and curious enough it happened on a contract year, go figure.  He is a good player and may turn into a great player, but stat wise he ain't ther yet, but now his contract is.  You'd think the Dodgers would have looked to the East and saw what happened in Boston with Crawford, again, a good player gets a great contract and look at his fantastic year.  any of that money going back to the club, I think NOT.  IF you don't think it means anything do you really think Boston would have given him that contract if he produced in 2010 like he did in 2011, again, I think NOT.



Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 5:32 am
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

@balrog01...re: bankruptcy

If you or I were filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and wanted to go out and buy a big screen TV and a new Dodge pickup truck during the process, the trustee of record would tell us to go pound sand...but the Dodgers (who have shown no fiscal discipline) are out spending on players like drunken sailors.

It matters little what type of bankruptcy one is filing...the bottom line is that someone has actually or potentially more liabilities than assets...it's a real stretch to say that they have added value to their portfolio by retaining Kemp...it's like saying I should buy a Monet while I am reorganizing in order to make my bottom line look more attractive...makes no sense.

And comparing this to the Rangers sale is beyond absurd...the Rangers were simply conducting business as they should...akin to a home seller who slaps fresh paint on the walls and puts down hardwood floors while their house is on the market...happens all the time. Or would you advocate they not do anything to improve the product they are trying to sell? Hey, maybe they should just stop paying the utilities also...

Sheesh...



Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:07 pm
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

great move.  This signing is the anchor for a rebirth of the Dodgers.  Give it 1-2 years, with their young arms, and they will be back battling for the NL West Division.



Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:26 pm
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

his numbers are very good, but not 20 Million a year good, no athlete realistically is worth that much money, when you have men and women in the military being insulted with the pay they receive for putting their lives on the line everyday, shame on you America!
 



Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:22 pm
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

balrog01 - I am not suggesting that Kemp used steroids, HGH, or anything other than Flintstone chewables. What I am saying is that this is not 2000 anymore, when sluggers remained productive long after history and the calendar suggests they should. 34 is not the new 24 anymore. It's the old 34 again. Generally, sluggers drop off dramatically right around age 30. They're like running backs. Kemp will earn $20 mill annually (depending on deal structure, which I don't know) well past his 30th birthday. I'm not some nut in a tinfoil hat ranting about satellites and batting averages. Look it up and see for yourself.



Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Matt Kemp ... and just six others

Excellent points all-around!!  What PLAYER is actually worth $20 million a year for 8 years?  Why should they be paid so much to "PLAY" a game?

I'm sure that all of you are smart enough to understand that baseball is a SPORT and a BUSINESS.  Teams pay players to play for them so that the team can win games and championships and make MO MONEY.  MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY!

Look at this signing as if Matt Kemp was a free agent this winter.  Why is he not worth $20 million a year in comparison to what Fielder and Pujols will get.  Because if the Dodgers had not agreed to this contract Kemp would end up a FA next winter.  And at the age of 28 and with another MVP caliber season he would be in the position to make Fielder-like money or better.  Fielder doesn't steal bases and he doesn't play GG caliber defense.

I wish I could make $20 million a year (not $50k) but I don't hate on athletes for getting paid.  Imagine if the Dodgers lost Kemp after next year to the Yankees everyone would say that the Dodgers should have signed him to an extension before he became a free agent.

Matt Kemp is young enough to be productive all the way through this contract.  And, believe it or not, in terms of what he can bring to the team financially he may be underpaid during some of the 8 years.  Most fans have no idea how much money teams make.  Just think of the potential TV contract of $3 billion over 17 years.  Those kind of contracts are impossible without players like Kemp and Kershaw.  The big money is not from attendance, concessions, souvenirs or parking.  Its from TV deals and advertisers.  The Dodgers may sell the name rights to the stadium for $1 billion for 20 years.  And they can sign Pujols too!!!


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