Matt Kemp: I’m going to play center field again, I’m going to play center field every day.
Don Mattingly:That’s fine, he can view himself however he wants. I’m playing him in left.
Matt Kemp is the not the best defensive centerfielder on the Los Angeles Dodgers; both Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke are better. In fact, Kemp has arguably been the worst defensive outfielder in all of baseball over the past four-plus seasons.
According to FanGraphs, Kemp is dead last in Defensive Runs Saved with -82 since the start of 2010. A very distant second is Raul Ibañez with -58. Matt Kemp rates worse defensively than Raul Ibañez. Let that sink in.
There is never a good time to publicly admit that you’re not happy with your current situation and wouldn’t mind being traded, as Kemp did via agent Dave Stewart this week. But when your team is contending for a division title and has a realistic chance of getting that World Series ring? That is about the worst possible time.
As a teammate, I’m looking over at Matt Kemp and wondering, "Is this about us or is this about you?"
Credit Don Mattingly for doing the right thing here, trying to win and not even entertaining the demands of a star player. Which actually should have been a relatively easy decision, because he’s right.