Matt Kemp talks about the Dodgers' ownership change, his future
Matt Kemp said Thursday that he was uncertain about how the Dodgers' pending ownership change would affect his future in Los Angeles.
Kemp will be eligible for free agency at the end of next season. General Manager Ned Colletti went into the off-season saying one of the Dodgers' top priorities this winter would be to sign Kemp to a long-term contract extension.
"Hopefully, we can work something out," Kemp said during a conference call with reporters. "I don't know what the future holds for us. I've told everybody this is where I want to be, in L.A. Hopefully, I can stay here for years to come."
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Kemp has been advised by his agent, Dave Stewart, to end negotiations at the start of the season if a deal isn't reached by then. Asked if he would make an exception for a new ownership group, Kemp replied, "Of course, I would listen to them. But like Stew said, during the season, it's focus on baseball. With contract negotiations, it can get kind of tough and overwhelming for that person and the team. I don't want to mess up the chemistry of the team."
Kemp said he hopes Manager Don Mattingly and his coaching staff will be retained by the next ownership group.
"Donnie did a great job," he said. "The coaching staff was amazing this year. I don't think there will be any changes on our team. I hope not. We worked well together."
Kemp, who was awarded his second career Silver Slugger award on Wednesday night, continued to lobby for the addition of free agent Prince Fielder to the Dodgers, but acknowledged that because of the ownership situation, he didn’t know what the team could or couldn't do.
Saying Frank McCourt always treated him well, Kemp described outgoing owner's departure as "unfortunate."
"I have respect for him," Kemp said. "I wish him the best."
Kemp said he has already started his off-season workouts. He said he felt he could improve on last season's performance, pointing out he could better his base-running and plate discipline.
He is also waiting to learn if he will be named the National League’s most valuable player. The NL MVP won't be named until Nov. 22.
"I never knew until I was in the MVP discussion that it took so long," he said, laughing. "It feels like a long time."
-- Dylan Hernandez
Photo: Matt Kemp. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press