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Category: Matt Kemp

Which duo is better: Kemp-Kershaw or Albert Pujols-Weaver?


Just when the Dodgers think they solidified the best 1-2 batter-pitcher combo in town by signing Matt Kemp to a long-term deal, along comes the Angels, who can now add Albert Pujols to Jered Weaver for a solid duo of their own.

Which is better? A look at the pros and cons:

Kemp: Let's face it, Kemp should have won the MVP award last season, and Kershaw was the Cy Young winner. Both (Kemp is 26, Kershaw is 23) are relative babies compared to Albert Pujols, who is 31 and, some think, could actually be a couple years older than that. Kemp hit .324 with a league-leading 39 homers and 126 RBIs last season, though he did have a relatively poor season in 2010 (.249, 28, 89). He has a career OPS+ (which compares on-base and slugging against the league average) of 125, with a league-leading 171 last season.

Kershaw: The left-hander is the best pitcher in the game right now, finishing last season with a 21-5 record, a 2.28 earned-run average and 248 strikeouts in 233.1 innings. His ERA+ (comparing his ERA to league average, with 100 being average) was 163 and his career ERA+ is 135.

Pujols: A three-time league MVP who has led the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series titles, Pujols is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Last season was his worst season, and he still hit 37 homers and had 99 RBIs. However, he will be 32 next season, so his decline years aren't that far off. When he's 41 and making $25 million, this deal may look like a big mistake. His career OPS+ is an astounding 170.

Weaver: He finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting behind Justin Verlander of Detroit. Weaver went 18-8 last season with a 2.41 ERA and 198 strikeouts. His ERA+ was 158 and his career mark is 128. He is 28.

So who would you rather have? Vote now in our poll, and leave a comment letting us know why you voted the way you did.


POLL: Is Pujols worth it?

Angels reach deal with C.J. Wilson

Bill Plaschke: Angels hit it out of park with Pujols signing

-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: Clayton Kershaw, left, and Matt Kemp. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images




Ryan Braun won NL MVP award — did Matt Kemp get snubbed?


Ryan Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes for the National League Most Valuable Player Award while Matt kemp only received 10.

Were the voters on the mark, or did Kemp get cheated?

Kemp outshone Braun in runs (115 to 109), runs batted in (126 to 111), home runs (39 to 33), and stolen bases (40 to 33).

Yet Braun's Milwaukee Brewers were a division winner while Kemp's Dodgers struggled to finish above .500.

Shortly after the NL MVP recipient was announced, Kemp tweeted: "They don't know who they messin wit!!!!! They jus created a monster!! Lol. #BEASTMODE don't care!!"

Back in September, the Times' Bill Plaschke proclaimed that Kemp should undoubtedly be the winner.

He wrote: "Matt Kemp is in the league's top four in batting, home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases while holding down the game's premier defensive position in center field. His resume is more complete than his top contenders, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, and his singular impact on the Dodgers is far greater than either one.

"Folks in Milwaukee will complain that Kemp hasn't played in enough meaningful games, and that Braun and Fielder have been more valuable because they are leading their team into the playoffs. Funny, but those same fans cheered Robin Yount when he won an MVP for the Brewers in 1989 while playing for a fourth-place team that won only half of its games.

"This may sound odd coming from a writer who supported Kirk Gibson's 76-RBI MVP award for the champion Dodgers in 1988, but unless a player is clearly the one difference-maker on a playoff team, I believe the MVP should go to the best guy, period. In fact, instructions on the baseball writers' MVP ballot read, 'The MVP need not come from a division winner or other player qualifiers.' "

What do you think? Who should have won the NL MVP award? Chime into the conversation by leaving a comment and voting in the poll.


Ryan Braun wins NL MVP award

Dodgers' Matt Kemp signs historic $160-million contract

Matt Kemp's new Dodgers contract starts smaller, then gets bigger

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Ryan Braun. Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images .

Matt Kemp: Bill Plaschke, T.J. Simers discuss paying the price

Matt Kemp finished the season with 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in and a very strong bid for the National League MVP.

After next season, he's up for free agency.

In a recent column, Bill Plaschke argued that the Dodgers must make Kemp the highest-paid player in franchise history in the next six months or he could jump ship. T.J. Simers called him the "Dodgers great hope ... for better days ahead."

But can a bankrupt team afford to pay the price for Kemp? And even if they can, should they make a roster change considering that the Dodgers were barely a .500 team (82-79) that missed postseason play?

Simers and Plaschke discuss the topic in their new video series, L.A. Loud, moderated by Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin.


Plaschke-Simers video: Should Kobe Bryant play overseas?

Plaschke-Simers video: Are the Chargers the best NFL team for L.A.?

Plaschke-Simers video: Should Clayton Kershaw win the Cy Young award?

-- Melissa Rohlin

Matt Kemp will bat third for NL All-Stars

The Dodgers' Matt Kemp will bat third for the National League and play center field in Tuesday's All-Star game at Chase Field in Phoenix, meaning he'll once again be facing the Angels' Jered Weaver in the first inning.

Weaver will start for the American League; the Phillies' Roy Halladay was Manager Bruce Bochy's choice to start for the NL.

The lineups for both leagues are listed after the jump.

Continue reading »

Kemp an All-Star starter; Kendrick, Kershaw, Weaver will also go

Angel right-hander Jered Weaver and infielder Howie Kendrick and the Dodger duo of left-hander Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Matt Kemp were all selected Sunday to play in next week's All-Star Game in Arizona.

Weaver, who led the major leagues in strikeouts last season, tops the American League with a 1.92 ERA this season and is second in wins with 10. This is his second All-Star selection.

Kershaw, a first-time All-Star, is the current major league strikeout leader with 138 to go with eight wins. If he and Weaver continue to pitch on their normal schedule, they would be in line to start the July 12 game in Phoenix.

Kemp, a triple crown candidate who leads the National League with 22 home runs to go with a .327 average and 64 runs batted in, was voted into the league's starting outfield alongside Ryan Braun of Milwaukee and the Cardinals' Lance Berkman. This is his first All-Star Game.

Continue reading »

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