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Agent speaks out in Matt Kemp's defense and says Dodgers might be better off trading him

Aug 13, 2010, 9:16 AM EDT

Matt Kemp returned to the Dodgers’ lineup last night after being benched for two games and went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs.

Hours earlier Kemp’s agent, former All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart, spoke to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times about the Dodgers’ treatment of his client, suggesting that perhaps everyone involved would be better off if the 25-year-old outfielder is traded during the offseason

Here’s some of what Stewart said:

It’s almost like it’s open season on Matt, and it’s not right. It’s a bunch of back-seat crap. I’m almost to the point–and maybe so are the Dodgers–where I’m thinking that this just isn’t going to work. The Dodgers have gaps on this team, and maybe they could fill them by trading Matt. It could be good for the team, and good for the player.

It’s very, very difficult to play under the circumstances that Kemp is playing under. The thing we have to look at is, is there going to be a fit? Is he going to be able to get past the public scrutiny? Matt has to wonder, ‘If these guys don’t like me, how can I play for them?’”

Stewart stressed that Kemp would never formally ask for a trade, but went on to specifically address how the Dodgers’ coaching staff and front office have publicly criticized Kemp at various times this season:

Everything was fine until suddenly [coaches Bob] Schaefer and [Larry] Bowa start getting on him publicly. On those great Dodger teams of the past, you would never read about a player being trashed like Matt’s been trashed. When Larry Bowa played, he would never accept a coach talking about him in the newspaper like that, but they want to Matt to accept it? Yes, it affects the player, it has to affect the player. All this external crap coming from Schaefer and Bowa, why would you want to play for somebody like that?

I tend to agree with Stewart and my guess is that his comments will be taken more seriously than the usual lip-service from an agent because he pitched 16 seasons in the majors, including four years for the Dodgers. Kemp has become a scapegoat for all things wrong with the Dodgers and, while his play this season has been somewhat disappointing, he remains one of the team’s best players and certainly doesn’t deserve the level and type of criticism he’s received, not to mention the benchings.
In response to Stewart, general manager Ned Colletti said that he has “no plans to trade him” and added “he’s got a chance to be one of the best players in the history of the franchise.” However, he also admitted that perhaps going public with criticism of Kemp was a mistake:

Our coaching staff only wants the best for the kid. Are they too hard on him? That’s a matter of opinion. But if there’s a miscommunication, we’re all adults here, let’s put everybody in a room and work it out.

Sounds good, but that probably would have been a better idea three months ago.

  1. BC - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Most overrated player in baseball. If they can get a good haul for him, do it, trade him.

  2. Old Gator - Aug 13, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Absolutely. Kemp got dropped on his head at birth, just like Little Herr Friedemann. I can see Minaya giving up Wright and Beltran for Kemp, then signing him to a five year, $100 million contract with a $15 million buyout in the option year.

  3. birdmancometh - Aug 13, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    No guys (or maybe gals), Kemp is a great player. You’d think if the Dodgers were good enough to sit Kemp so much they’d be in first place right?

  4. thejoe - Aug 13, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    how about matt kemp martin two prospects to seattle for ichiro.

  5. Philip P - Aug 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    This has become a disastrous season for the Dodgers and next season isn’t looking good as the young players who have failed to meet expectations will be 1-2 years away from free agency and the veterans they have are far from durable or consistent. If they can move Kemp for several near ready prospects they should do it. I hate how the Dodgers have handled him this season and they have to accept some of the responsibility for his regression. Kemp needs to grow up but the Dodgers have made things worse and irreperable.

  6. Philip P - Aug 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    I don’t see the Mariners moving Ichiro and Martin is a non-tender candidate so anyone intersted in him would be wise to give up little or nothing. If I thought they could afford it they would be better trying to sign someone like Carl Crawford but I doubt they will be in on any major free agents.

  7. Benny Blanco - Aug 13, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    I can see dealing Beltran. But never DWright.

  8. Xpensive Wino - Aug 13, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    He leads the league in lazy.
    He has no fire inside him and he lacks baseball instincts.
    If he’s motivated on a particular day he’ll succeed because he has so much natural ability, but if I were the Dodgers and could get two or possibly three solid players for him who actually seem to like baseball, I would trade him in a heartbeat.

  9. APBA Guy - Aug 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    People forget that Dave Stewart was the driving force for the Eurythm…oh, sorry wrong blog. Start over. People tend to forget how incredibly competitive Stewart was. There’s this great A’s commercial where Stewart is trying to teach the White Rabbit his death stare. Basically Cahill just looks like the goofy 21 year old (when the commercial was filmed) he is, while Stewart has this fabulous intimidating look. That look came from his competitive desire. He’ll do everything he can to put Kemp in a good place, and he also won’t be shy about telling Kemp that a .777 OPS is not what a star does. It’s called “just above replacement”.

  10. Al - Aug 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    How about G. Sizemore for Kemp straight up? Challenge trade!

  11. kountryking - Aug 13, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Matt Kemp is a latter day Raul Mondesí. Raul was the man until he got too Hollywood and became a liability to himself and the team. These young kids come up to L.A. and mix it up with starlets and singers thinking they’re A-Rod and the career goes south. So do the “relationships”.

  12. kountryking - Aug 13, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Where did my comment go?

  13. kountryking - Aug 13, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Oh, you have to log in for this nonsense too.

  14. BringBackYaz - Aug 13, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    And they say there will never be another Manny Ramirez. Well, Kemp is one. Immense talent, lazy, no desire to win, might as well be a sandbag north of his Adam’s apple.
    Ahh, the modern athlete. But Larry Bowa is the problem. Huh.

  15. Jimsjam33 - Aug 15, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    Hmm ,
    Let’s see Dave Stewart …How many times has your client struck out this year ? How many base runners has he left on base ? Perhaps , just perhaps , if your client cut down on the strike outs the Dodgers would be on top of the NL West looking down at the Padres , Giants , and Rockies ?
    Trade ? No problema.. Adios Baby ..Hope you dig Kansas City .

  16. lazlo - Sep 19, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Listen to Dave Stewart. Fire Larry Bowa, because he is a disruptive force everywhere he goes. But if you still want to trade Kemp, send him to San Francisco for Pablo Pandaball. But don’t send Bowa, you can have him.

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