Tonight, Matt Kemp will not be in the starting line-up. That’s the third consecutive game he won’t be playing. Joe Torre announced less than an hour ago, though, that he’ll be back in the line-up tomorrow. Torre and Kemp had a closed-door meeting today and nobody said anything of what was talked about.
So if you haven’t been following the drama, here’s a brief list of atrocities.
2006, Bill Plaschke suggests in several columns multiple trade offers, which feature a number of Dodger players, but Kemp is the only one mentioned in every trade. Here’s a pretty good list of what Plaschke posted against Kemp. Plaschke reiterates how frustrating it is to watch Kemp in several columns through 2007 and comes up with 20 different reasons to trade Kemp, all of which seem to point to Plaschke just plain not liking Kemp. Said Plaschke:
Matt Kemp‘s breathtaking ability makes him attractive. But his constant struggles to embrace the little things that turn talent into championships make him expendable.
2007, Jeff Kent said something about how the young guys have no respect, particularly about Kemp. In response, Kemp keeps his mouth shut to the press. Kemp’s name comes up in a few trade offers, but the front office doesn’t pull the trigger on any of them. The line between columnist conjecture and legit trade rumor is blurred heavily. Kent then criticizes Dodger legend Vin Scully for “talking too much” and how he never comes down to the clubhouse and suddenly the whole world realizes Kent is a moron. Kent retires after the 2008 season. Despite everyone realizing what a loony Kent is, Kemp’s attitude or “clubhouse character” is still called into question.
2008-2009, Kemp plays really well in two full seasons. No one says shit.
2010 GM Ned Colletti, unprovoked, calls Matt Kemp‘s defense awful. In the small sample size to that point in the season, he is correct, but Colletti didn’t acknowledge the sample size problem. Kemp replies something to the effect of “of course I’m upset, but I’m going to go out there and do my thing anyway.” Kemp does OK offensively, but struggles the rest of the way of the season defensively, despite having average defense over his entire career. Today, Kemp was benched for the third straight game. He and Torre had a private meeting and when he came out, he was asked what all that was about. He replied “That’s between me and Torre.”
Honestly, compiled like this it looks like they’re putting Kemp through some torture test.
Edit — I think I said this on twitter, but I’ll repeat it here. I’ll admit it’s possible Kemp may have an attitude problem behind closed doors. But the overwhelming public evidence is management has mishandled him repeatedly.