Dodgers Now

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Category: Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp 'happy' Ryan Braun wasn't suspended

Kemp

Matt Kemp said he was pleased to hear Ryan Braun was successful in appealing his positive drug test from last year.

“I was happy that he was not found guilty,” Kemp said. “I know he’s been going through a lot. Now, he and the Brewers can concentrate on just playing baseball, going about their business.”

Kemp finished second in MVP voting last season to the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, who avoided a 50-game suspension.

“I didn’t vote for who was supposed to get MVP,” Kemp said. “The writers voted. I didn’t win. I still feel the same way. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t win. You turn the page and I’ll get ready for this season and try to have an even better season than I did last year.”

Kemp said he hasn’t spoken to Braun, whom he has called “a friend.”

“I’m sure I’ll see him in spring training,” Kemp said. “We play them a couple of times this spring training, so I’ll chat it up with him like we always do.”

Kemp didn’t share his thoughts on reports that Braun escaped punishment on a technicality. Braun’s lawyers argued that his urine sample was not handled correctly, according to multiple reports.

“I don’t know how any of that works,” Kemp said. “I don’t get into any of that, man. All I know is that he gets to play and help his team win as many games as he can.”

One of Kemp’s former teammates, Manny Ramirez, was suspended for violating baseball’s policy in 2009. When hearing of Braun’s reported defense, did Kemp wonder why Ramirez hadn’t tried to employ a similar strategy?

Kemp laughed and shook his head.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”

MORE:

Ryan Braun wins appeal, suspension is overturned in arbitration

Dolphins fans try to lure Peyton Manning with billboard, website

Broncos coach downplays Brady Quinn's comments about Tim Tebow

-- Dylan Hernandez in Phoenix

Photo: Matt Kemp. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.

Dodgers have to be liking the dreamer in Matt Kemp

Why you need to dream big ... sounds like the title of 32 different motivational books.

Matt Kemp, however, is dreaming really big. Record big. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me big.

His 2011 cry of “40-40” was impressive stuff, and he nearly became the fifth player in major-league history to pull it off, finishing the season with 39 home runs and 40 steals.

Now he’s upped the ante.

“Fifty-fifty,” Kemp said.

That’s his 2012 goal. And hey, why not? Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown examines and applauds Kemp for giving himself lofty goals. Fifty-fifty never has been accomplished in a single season by any player in baseball history.

Of course, hitting 50 homers can get a little in the way of stealing 50 bases. Hard to steal when you’re trotting around the diamond.

Also on the Web:

-- Jonathan Broxton told the Associated Press he’s happy to be in the Kansas City camp and isn’t worried about his post-surgery velocity: “I could come out this year and throw 100 or come back and throw 95. You never know what your velocity is going to be.”

-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports on the Bryan Stow family charge that the Dodgers are using bankruptcy court to shield them from their liability claim.

-- In a Fox video, manager Don Mattingly looks to the team’s coming season.

   

 -- Veteran baseball writer Tony Jackson is ESPN/L.A.’s new Dodgers bloggers, and here reports on Rubby De La Rosa’s progress.

-- True Blue L.A.’s Eric Stephen is scheduled to be with the Dodgers all spring, and reports on Jerry Sands arriving at camp and wanting to start.

-- The Dodgers have claimed speedy outfielder Matt Angle off waivers from the Orioles, and in a corresponding move, placed De La Rosa on the 60-day disabled list to create roster room.

-- Mike Petriello gets in touch with his optimistic side in this look at the Dodgers’ coming season.

-- Reid Forgrave at Fox looks back on the historic effect of Dr. Frank Jobe’s ground-breaking Tommy John surgery.

-- Remember, he can play first! Jay Gibbons has signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers.

-- In a video from MLB, excited closer Javy Guerra says he thinks the Dodgers can win it all.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Matt Kemp says he doesn't want MVP if Ryan Braun is disqualified

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Matt Kemp said that even if Ryan Braun is suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy, he doesn’t want the 2011 National League most valuable player award.

Kemp finished second in voting to Braun, who is appealing a positive test from the playoffs last season.

“I would want to win by them voting me,” Kemp said. “I wouldn’t want them to just, ‘Oh, this person did that so how about we just give the award to this person?’ I don’t think it should work that way.

“If it is that way, then it should be a vacant award for 2011, no one should win the MVP award in the National League.”

Kemp said he hopes Braun is vindicated.

“I know Braun,” he said. “We’ve always been cool. We’ve been friends. He’s been one of my favorite players in the big leagues. I hope it’s not true.”

Continue reading »

Matt Kemp, Tony Gwynn Jr. tried to lure Prince Fielder to Dodgers

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Matt Kemp said he actively recruited Prince Fielder over the winter and was convinced he would be in the same lineup as the former home-run champion in the upcoming season.

“I was getting real confident in our chances of getting him,” Kemp said.

Kemp said he spoke to Fielder several times.

“I knew we were getting pretty close,” he said. “I didn’t know Detroit was in.”

The Detroit Tigers responded to a potentially season-ending injury to Victor Martinez by sweeping in with a last-minute, nine-year, $214-million offer that Fielder accepted. The Dodgers had offered Fielder a seven-year deal worth around $160 million.

Tony Gwynn Jr. jokingly said he would accept responsibility.

“You can blame it on me, for sure,” Gwynn said.

Continue reading »

Frank McCourt to Bud Selig: I can never thank you enough

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I don’t know what the world record is for emerging from bankruptcy with the greatest amount of wealth, but you have to think our good buddy Frank McCourt is a serious contender.

Bankruptcy is designed to make sure creditors are paid, and you have to wonder at this point if there was ever any danger of that not happening. But McCourt chose bankruptcy, the courts accepted and it has led to a historic auction, the likes of which Sotheby’s has never imagined.

Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan finds it incomprehensible that after leaving the Dodgers the laughingstock of baseball and dragging them into bankruptcy, McCourt could not only get the record $1.5 billion he was looking for, but possibly $2 billion and still own the parking lots.

The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports that, aside from TV rights, team revenue and the parking lots, whether the sale price is ultimately closer to $1.5 or $2 billion could largely depend on how much renovation Dodger Stadium is deemed to need.

McCourt now claims it doesn’t need significant renovation, which sort of goes against his grand 2008 plan for a transformation that was estimated then to cost $500 million. And, oh yeah, was supposed to be completed before the start of the 2012 season.

In a stunning development, McCourt found financing a tad difficult to come by.

Yet despite everything, despite the embarrassment of bankruptcy, an ugly public divorce that exposed his and wife Jamie's horrendous greed and perhaps the worst year in team history, McCourt is about to exit richer than anyone –- no doubt including him -- ever dreamed.

The McCourts purchased the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004 without spending a dime of their own money, using equity in a Boston parking lot. Now even after paying Jamie a settlement of $131 million once the team sells, paying off $573 million in debt and possibly more than $200 million in sales taxes, McCourt could walk away with around $1 billion?

Wonder if Jamie would like to rework that settlement.

No one has any real clue which of the 11 surviving bidders will get the team, though if it does become more of a vanity purchase than a practical one, the deep pockets of Steve Cohen and Magic Johnson’s group are impressive. Newhan said the Joe Torre-Rick Caruso group has picked up the backing of a member of the David Thomson family, the wealthiest in Canada. Groups could yet merge, and still floating out there are local billionaires Ron Burkle and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

No one knows this better than Frank McCourt. His feud with Commissioner Bud Selig is looking like the best thing that ever happened to him.

__ __ __

Newhan also had this interesting mention in his blog post:

“… sources also revealed that none of the investors are particularly happy with the Dodgers' eight year, $160 million, back loaded signing of Matt Kemp, and the two year, $19 million contract to Clayton Kershaw.”

Jon Weisman at Dodgers Thoughts found this particularly unsettling, arguing the Dodgers were simply giving competitive salaries to their two best players.

Which is true, of course, but if you’re about to be the new owner, no doubt you would like to be the one negotiating the salaries. It is your future debt, and neither contract had to be done now.

Kemp’s salary, compared to subsequent deals signed by Albert Pujols ($240 million) and Prince Fielder ($214 million), could prove a relative bargain if he continues to produce anywhere near his 2011 level.

Of course, the difference is Pujols and Fielder have performed at the highest level for several years. Kemp reached true elite status only last year, and the Dodgers are counting on the 2011 version and not the 2010 one.

Kershaw’s deal is another matter. Two is an unusual number of years to give a player in the first year of arbitration. The Dodgers guaranteed him $6 million this season, meaning he gets $13 million next year. For that, they essentially got nothing in return, save for avoiding a year of arbitration.

So the Dodgers have taken an expensive gamble that Kershaw doesn’t blow out his elbow. Normally if a team does make that kind of commitment, the contract is extended to at least buy out a year or two of free agency.

RELATED:

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What is the Dodgers' backup plan if Dee Gordon falters?

Fan loyalty to Dodgers took a tumble in 2011, survey says

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Commissioner Bud Selig with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt during a ceremony in 2006. Credit: Ric Francis / Associated Press

It's time for the Dodgers to lock up Andre Ethier

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If the Dodgers believe in Andre Ethier, if they are confident he will rebound and have a successful 2012 season, they need to sign him to a long-term contract. Like soon.

If they wait and he puts together another season like he did in 2009 (31 homers, 92 runs, 106 runs batted in) or even approaches a full season like the start he was off to in 2010 before breaking his pinkie, it could either cost them a serious amount of dough or his services completely.

It’s a risk worth taking, and I know when talking about the moody Ethier, risk is inherent.

At the end of the season, Ethier will become a free agent for the first time. He was already talking about leaving the team on the eve of last season, so it’s not hard to imagine his heading elsewhere next winter.

Ethier is coming off the worst season of his career (11 homers, 62 RBIs, a .421 slugging percentage). He is coming off knee surgery.

He is unlikely to ever be cheaper to sign to a multiyear contract than he is right now.

But if he puts together a big season and enters free agency, the Dodgers might have to compete with the likes of the Red Sox or Yankees and the price for the two-time All-Star takes off.

Continue reading »

Dodgers Web musings: Clayton Kershaw and the long term [Videos]

Plenty to get to today, leading off with … so the Dodgers have signed Clayton Kershaw to a two-year, $19-million deal. Exactly right for the moment or does more have to be done?

Buster Olney argues in this ESPN video that the new owner’s first order of business should be to sign Kershaw to a long-term deal. He argues Kershaw would be only 26 in his first year of free agency and free-spending teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies would be circling.

Olney estimates a five-year deal for Kershaw would cost between $100 to $120 million.

Meanwhile, Robert Timm at Dodger Dugout argues there is risk in signing any pitcher to a long-term deal and the Dodgers were smart to settle for a two-year agreement.

Also on the Web:

--The Left Field Pavilion has organized a charity softball tournament of teams representing several Dodgers blogs on Saturday at the Big League Dreams fields in West Covina.

Play starts at 8 a.m. Admission is only $3 and includes a drink. Fans are asked to bring a box or bag of food for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

--It never ends: USA Today thinks the Dodgers could be in line for a $5-billion TV rights deal. Guess that $3 billion Frank McCourt wanted to sign up for with Fox might have been just a tad low.

--Eric Stephen at True Blue LA has his Dodgers preview. He doesn’t think Jerry Sands makes the 25-man roster, but Josh Fields does.

--FanGraphs’ David Laurila has a lengthy and detailed Q&A with Dodgers scouting director Logan White, while Dodgers Thoughts’ Jon Weisman interviews farm director De Jon Watson.

--MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin looks at the Dodgers' top 20 prospects, while ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider status required) rates their system 12th overall in the majors.

--The Times’ Dylan Hernandez talks to James Loney about his bizarre freeway accident. Loney blames it on a blow to his head.

--The Times’ Bill Shaikin adds an 11th and, really, possibly final Dodgers bidder in Michael Heisley, the 75-year-old owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. He could bring Jerry West into the deal.

--ESPN’s Baseball Tonight crew looks at what could be next for Matt Kemp.

--Reuters’ Sue Zeidler writes that the second round of bids on the Dodgers is due around Feb. 23.

--NBC Sports’ Tony DeMarco thinks that with the right owner the Dodgers could be a power fairly quickly.

--Fox Sports' Mike Martinez checks in with shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon on how many bases he’s capable of stealing: “a hundred.”

--Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth is auctioning off a Kershaw-autographed copy of his new book, “Arise,” on EBay to raise funds for a Watts literacy center.

--Daily Breeze columnist Mike Waldner looks at the Dodgers auction situation: “McCourt's first, last and always goal has been to line his pockets.”

--Oh, goody: Russell Martin tells the New York Daily News he’s all giddy the Yankees have added Hiroki Kuroda.

--And finally, Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has found a video of a vintage TV commercial, this one from 1981. Warning: Hope you like looking at a shirtless Bill Russell.

 

-- Steve Dilbeck

 

For Matt Kemp, the season doesn't start on Opening Day

A lot of fans don’t realize that, for players, the season starts Jan. 1. As soon as the holidays pass, the major leaguers’ preseason conditioning begins in earnest.

Check out some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Dodger Matt Kemp’s off-season drills. The three short Web videos take him through a day of winter workouts, starting with him waking in the morning, groggily putting in his contacts, then heading out to a stadium to run stairs, lift weights and take some turns in the batting cage.

Kemp also discusses his motivation and expectations for the season.

The quick-paced clips -– basically the same material cut to three different lengths -- are the first of a series of videos the MLB has done on various stars, including Curtis Granderson and Jose Bautista.

RELATED:

Dodgers' sale: Falling deeper into the Frank McCourt rabbit hole

11 bidders remain in running to buy Dodgers

The Dodger who can have the greatest effect on the 2012 season

-- Chris Erskine

Frank McCourt: A few words in praise of Dodgers owner

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Hey, I didn’t say they were my words.

It must be understood that despite racking up almost a billion dollars in debt and taking the Dodgers into bankruptcy, Frank McCourt still has supporters. They mostly point to the team’s four playoff appearances in his eight years of ownership.

And then there is General Manager Ned Colletti, who during Tuesday's announcement of Clayton Kershaw’s two-year, $19-million contracttook the time to commend McCourt for trying to leave the team in good condition.

Colletti based this on McCourt’s off-season signing of Kershaw and Matt Kemp (eight years, $160 million), and his efforts to sign Prince Fielder.

“When you think about how we were able to complete a deal with Matt for eight years, get the go-ahead to go after Prince and sign Clayton for a couple of years, you have to give Frank credit,” Colletti said.

“These are things he didn’t have to do. We could have not pursued Prince and let the next owner deal with Matt and Clayton. To his credit, he’s trying to leave the organization in the best place possible.”

Just makes you see ol' Frankie in a completely different light, no?

Continue reading »

Dodgers sign Clayton Kershaw to two-year, $19-million deal

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That may not have been the truly long-term contract some of the faithful were hoping for, but the Dodgers did avoid arbitration with Clayton Kershaw this year and the next by signing him Tuesday to a two-year, $19-million contract.

The Times’ Dylan Hernandez reports Kershaw will earn a $500,000 signing bonus, $7.5 million this season and $11 million in 2013.

The club had previously exchanged arbitration figures with National League’s Cy Young winner, submitting $6.5 million to Kershaw’s $10-million bid.

His contract is in keeping with the Dodgers signing players at a comparatively low salary for next season, then raising it significantly the next. Matt Kemp, who signed an eight-year, $160-million contract in November, will earn just $10 million next season, $2 million of it deferred.

The Dodgers’ 2012 active payroll now figures to come in about $93.5 million.

It seems a fair contract for both the Dodgers and the 23-year-old Kershaw, thought particularly for the Dodgers. After his third season, and second consecutive Cy Young win, the Giants Tim Lincecum signed a two-year, $23-million deal in 2010.

RELATED:

Jared Kushner a prospective Dodgers owner

Dodgers sign right-hander Jamey Wright as a nonroster invitee

Dodgers announce 2012 spring training broadcast schedule [Updated]

-- Steve Dilbeck

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