Ahem. Don't know where that came from. Honest.
Here's the deal. My favorite player just got traded to a division rival. A team that sucks so bad that it shouldn't matter, but still a division rival. Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed. Not because of the return (we'll get to that in a minute), but because Matt Kemp got traded to the Padres. It still doesn't feel right to type that.
I have been a baseball fan since sometime around 1999 or 2000. My first favorite player was Shawn Green after I found his baseball card in a cereal box. I have been hooked on Dodger baseball since. Fast forward to 2005 when Green was traded to another division rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was a sad young man for a good deal of time after that. I couldn't choose a favorite player in 2005 because, well, take a look at that roster. I mean, who the hell is Mike Edwards.
Anyway. Chad Billingsley came up in 2006 and briefly took over the role of my new favorite player. That is, until Matt Kemp arrived. He came up primarily as a right fielder (just like Shawn Green), and provided the Dodgers with some pop and speed on the base paths (just like Shawn Green). Kemp was part of a core of young Dodgers that came up in 2006, and, up until Tuesday, was the longest tenured member of that group.
It hurt when Shawn Green got traded. It hurts now that Matt Kemp has been traded. It might hurt a little more because so much of my collection was dedicated to him. But here's the thing - the sting from this trade won't last. The Dodgers pulled a fast one on the Padres, and I am liking the deal more and more every time I think about it.
Think about it. The Dodgers cleared up some major problems with this move.
- They were able to shed some present day salary and clear future salary obligations to an aging player
- They were able to massively upgrade the outfield defense by moving Kemp and slotting in Joc Pederson
- They cleared some of the outfield logjam that has been a problem for the past two years
- They used one of the prospects from the deal to acquire Jimmy Rollins
- They upgraded at catcher by adding Yasmani Grandal
- They added starting pitching depth by adding Joe Wieland
Furthermore, the Dodgers won't take that big of a hit on offense. Joc Pederson is no Matt Kemp, but should be able to hit for a decent average with some power. Yasmani Grandal is a breakout candidate who pounded out 15 homers in 377 at-bats last year while playing primarily at Petco. Of course power isn't the end all to a players offensive ability. The Dodgers may be losing a steady presence in the middle of the order, but the trade has given the a much deeper and more balanced lineup.
Don't get me wrong - I am terribly upset that the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp, but I understand the move, and I really, really like it.
The Dodgers went and traded my favorite player this week. But then again, who needs a favorite player. It's all about the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. And if the team is dramatically improved due to the move, who am I to complain?
Yeesh. I've been putting off that for nearly a week.
That said, I won't stop my collection of Matt Kemp. Kemp will always hold a special place in my collection, and I plan to eventually get close to my buddy's massive Kemp collection. That might be easier said then done, but we'll see.
Let's take a look at my newest addition to the Matt Kemp PC.
I picked this up off of eBay for about 10 bucks shipped sometime late in November. It took a little while to get here, but that didn't bother me too much. It is my 12th Mattycakes autograph, and my 186th Matt Kemp card.
I'm still hoping to cross the 200 Kemp cards mark by the end of the year, and I just might make it. I may have gone on a little eBay binge after hearing about the trade.
P.S. Hope you enjoy Kemp, Padres fans. Your team still sucks though ;p