Will Matt Kemp’s Truly Awful May End With a Disabled List Trip?

kemp_2013-05-10The trials and tribulations of Matt Kemp in 2013 just never seem to end, apparently. Just two days ago, we were here wondering if there was anything the Dodgers could or should do to help their struggling superstar regain his past form. Then he left early on Tuesday after taking a pitch off his right elbow, leading to numbness in his right hand, and left early again on Wednesday after straining his left hamstring. Add that to the ongoing concern about his shoulder and his overall performance, and he is, quite frankly, a mess.

At the moment, we are waiting to hear about the results of his hamstring MRI, but discussing what teams ought to do with player injuries is always a tricky subject. We’re not doctors — most of us, anyway — and even if we were, we do not have access to the player or their medical records. So to say that the Dodgers “must” do this or that with Kemp, from our perspective, comes across as not being fully informed, because we are not.

Still, we can speculate on what we know right now, and what we know is that the last few days have been just a disaster for Kemp in every possible way. On Tuesday morning, I said that I didn’t think simply sending Kemp to the disabled list was the best course of action, partially because sitting out wasn’t going to help his timing issues, and partially because the center field options behind him were so lousy. (Chad Moriyama echoes largely the same concerns about center field depth in a rundown today.) That was before the last two days, and so the thinking there has changed for me.

So no matter what, the Dodgers are in a bad spot. They can either keep running Kemp out there, getting poor performance from a banged-up player, or they can turn to players who are either not really center fielders (Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig), not really likely to do better overall than even 2013 Kemp is (Elian Herrera, Tony Gwynn, Matt Angle, Skip Schumaker), or potentially not really ready for the big leagues (Joc Pederson).

It’s a bad situation, and a fair share of this blame does need to land on Ned Colletti for not having a better backup plan than Schumaker considering the uncertainty about Kemp. (To be completely fair, however, I don’t remember very many of us making an excessive amount of noise about this over the winter.) But poorly planned or not, the games are going to go on, so they’re going to need to do something.

If it were up to me… I would probably put Kemp on the DL. I know, I’m not a doctor and all of that I said above. It’s just that it’s not about his shoulder any longer, it’s about his elbow and his hamstring too. We saw what happened last year when he tried to push through a hamstring problem, and we all know that this offense is only going to work with a productive Kemp at the center of it. The last thing we need right now is for him to exacerbate either of those issues. If two weeks away helps him “clear his head” or whatever garbage people like to throw out there, well, fine, though I don’t really think that less playing time is going to fix his swing.

If that’s the case, then I guess I would reluctantly call up Pederson. He’s probably not a center fielder either, long-term, though he’s at least been playing there in Double-A. That’s why I say Pederson over Puig; Puig is not a center field option, no matter how much people want him to be, and the fact that people simply gloss over that continues to shock me. There’s an argument to be made for Gwynn or Herrera, since both have shown the ability to provide solid defense in center, but again neither is very appealing. (The 40-man roster, which would need to accommodate Gwynn or Pederson, is not an issue since injured reliever Shawn Tolleson could easily be moved to the 60-day DL as he recovers from back surgery.)

Again, it’s a lousy spot to be in all around. For me, the primary goal is a healthy effective Kemp as soon as possible, and if that means erring on the side of caution here, so be it — even if the replacements leave much to be desired.

1269 comments
ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

Does Steve Lyons know about Shit Steve Lyons Says?

efb
efb

To me, rightfully or wrongly, Ethier appears to be a solid fielder when I watch games. However, the statistics say otherwise. What's the reason for this? What am I missing? Is it his range and arm? 

DBrim
DBrim moderator

AAA broadcaster (for Cards, not Suchon) just said that they think the call-up is Gwynn.

o0b00tz0o
o0b00tz0o

it will be interesting to see how Ethier fares in center.

Dang88
Dang88

Get the Gwynning shirts out

moneynow27
moneynow27

Wait, here's a thought....Maybe they do nothing, and Ethier stays in CF, and SVS plays every day at least until Matt returns.

efb
efb

So maybe Kemp will come back in 2011 form? 

Tycho Blue
Tycho Blue

Do we know anyone in Mobile, Alabama?  I should have looked it up, but the Lookouts are playing the Bay Bears.  

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

See if that one guy from Chattanooga ever responded to my emails we could be having a lively discussion. 

instead he decided to stay in his sheltered world and not hang out on the internets

moneynow27
moneynow27

With all the technology and social media out there today, why can't we find out who will be our starting CF tomorrow night?  This is more important than work, family, it's right up there with your health!

jml2279
jml2279

Chris Jackson regarding no JP and Puig at CF: "De Jon Watson said during spring training that all the CHA outfielders would rotate positions"

moneynow27
moneynow27

@Duh Blue Crue 

With only 2 catchers, I would have gone with Cruz or Uribe, but who knows what Donny is thinking?

moneynow27
moneynow27

@Mike Petriello 

This team is a mess.  So does Stan Kasten do anything beside renovate the stadium, and does Magic Johnson do anything else (Dodgers related) besides smile a lot and attend games?  I think we need a George Steinbrenner like shake up.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@efb Bad jumps, poor range.

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@DBrim that seems silly considering that Gwynn is playing and Herrera is not. Plus 40-man

Lobo
Lobo

@Tycho Blue Hang on, I'll drive the 6 hours down there right now

Tycho Blue
Tycho Blue

@moneynow27 Call the Lookouts PR guy tomorrow  > say you're with the press of opposing minor league team > ask if Joc is healthy and available for tomorrow game or if he's hurt.  Meh, would never work.

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@jml2279 ah, how convenient that Puig would get his first shot in CF ON THE SAME DAY OUR CF GOES ON THE DL

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@Tycho Blue @moneynow27 "Well, I'm not supposed to tell you this because this is a bigggg secret and I don't know if you really are a member of the Press...

.... but I'm going to go with my instincts on this one. He's going to LA! BUT SHHH DON'T TELL ANYBODY! PINKY PROMISE YOU WON'T TELL!!"

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@Urbie (VND) @Drank CF @Tycho Blue @moneynow27 Obviously VND I was imitating Tycho Blue's scenario of when moneynow27 calls the Lookouts PR guy pretending to be a member of the opposing team's press so that he could get the real scoop on what's happening with joc pederson.

GOSH