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Agent: Dodgers made a statement with new deal for Matt Kemp

November 17, 2011 |  5:15 pm

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Matt Kemp’s agent said the Dodgers made a statement by agreeing to an eight-year, $160-million contract with his client.

“The statement is, ‘He’s ready,’” Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, said Thursday.

Ready to be great. Ready to be leader.

“Matt is a very good player right now, but very, very close to that line of great player,” Stewart said. “I think that the Dodgers have the same vision that I do for Matt.”

Kemp’s eight-year, $160-million contract will be officially announced at a Friday morning news conference at Dodger Stadium, according to club officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because plans for the event hadn't been made public yet. Finalized on Monday, the deal is the largest ever for a National League player. The contract is the seventh-richest in the history of baseball.

Considering Kemp was still under the Dodgers’ control for next season, Stewart said he views the contract as having two parts: next year and the following seven.

Stewart said he pushed the Dodgers for the additional seven years because of how recent top-line free agents such as Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth were able to get seven-year contracts.

“Matt as a free agent at 28 easily would be able to get seven years on the market,” he said.

Stewart said he believes Kemp could have signed for $200 million or more on the open market.

“But in a closed market this turned out to be a great deal,” he said.

Stewart declined to reveal how Kemp’s contract is broken down.

Kemp was a late-season triple-crown threat, but Stewart said his contributions to the Dodgers went far beyond that.

“It was taking leadership in the clubhouse and leadership on the field,” he said.

Stewart said Kemp has talked about using his newfound wealth to help others. Kemp expressed that desire at a youth-field dedication on Monday.

“He’s going to be able to do a lot of good things for other people,” Stewart said. “That’s what makes me proud of him.”

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-- Dylan Hernandez

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 28. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

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