The Los Angeles Dodger‘ star outfielder Matt Kemp has performed like a franchise player in years past, but is it time for the Dodgers organization to cash in on Kemp’s value and trade him? I believe the answer is “no,” but before I explain why, let me first tell you why some people believe differently.
With reoccurring trips to the DL, center field has been a merry-go-round of players for the Dodgers in 2013. The outfield staple in Kemp has been ripped out by hamstring, ankle and shoulder injuries frequently over the past two seasons. After a 2011 season in which he ought to have won the MVP Award, Kemp has struggled to remain on the field long enough to be a factor for the Dodgers.
With that said, critics believe it is time to jump on the opportunity, to “strike while the iron is hot” and to trade Kemp while he is still worth a pretty penny. As far as anyone can tell, Kemp is a valuable tool who has just had a stretch of bad luck with injuries and should rebound and return to MVP-caliber form.
For this very reason, I urge the Dodgers not to trade Kemp. Yes, they may be able to barter for a fair amount of talent for Kemp, even in his current physical state, but the long-term benefits will come to the Dodgers if they are patient enough to let this time of tribulation pass.
Kemp does not have a track record of getting injured and then returning poorly. In 2007 when he had just started getting real playing time with the Dodgers, Kemp injured himself in a collision with the outfield fence. After spending most of that April and May in the minors – he hit .329 in 39 games during that time – Kemp returned to the majors with a blaze and hit for .342 on the season with 10 home runs while competing for playing time.
Similarly and more recently, even though Kemp spent all of June and half of July on the DL, he bounced back and managed to finish the last 70 games of the 2012 season with a batting average of .280, smacking 11 home runs, plating 41 RBIs and stealing seven bases. These numbers are pretty impressive given the choppy mountain Kemp had to climb in the middle of the season.
Matt Kemp can and will return from his injury-plagued seasons as he has shown in the past. If the Dodgers and GM Ned Colletti decide to trade Kemp and get as much value out of him as they can, they will end up on the wrong side of the deal. The Blue Crew needs to ride out the storm and wait patiently, knowing that sunny days are ahead. “Good things come to those who wait.”