October 31, 2014

Is Matt Kemp “an Issue in the Clubhouse” for the Dodgers?

If you trust the sources of ESPN LA’s Tony Jackon, then yes.  According to the transcript of an online chat from earlier this week, Jackson had the following exchange with a Dodger fan named Earl:

Earl (LA, CA)

Wow, if Kemp gets traded for anyone, I would be bummed.Do you feel that would be a big mistake for the Dodgers to trade Kemp for a frontline starter, despite what Colleti thinks about him?I think Colleti exaggerated the issues of Kemp, personally.

Tony Jackson (6:41 PM)

Earl, I have it on good authority (NOT from Colletti, from others) that if anything, Ned UNDERSTATED the issues with Kemp. This kid is really full of himself, to the point that it is becoming an issue in the clubhouse. I’m not saying they WILL trade him. I still think there is less than a 50-percent chance that they will. I’m just saying that if they do trade one of their core young players, he probably will be the one, not only because of these issues but also because he would have the most value.

————–

Earl (LA, CA)

Wow, Tony, didn’t know that about Kemp. I just don’t think you can afford to let a talent like his go. Do you think its just a simple case of immaturity?I mean a lot of ball players start out cocky, but mature and settle down with age. Kemp could be no different.

Tony Jackson (6:50 PM)

well, if it’s immaturity, he has had plenty of time to outgrow it. Based on what I’m told, he hasn’t outgrown it yet. None of this is terribly surprising, just judging from the way he handles himself with the media. He is difficult to deal with, and I’m told that isn’t limited to the media.

After reading the full transcript, as well as the reflections of my blogging brethren over at Memories of Kevin Malone and Vin Scully is my Homeboy, I found myself thinking a lot about this exchange and found it really interesting for a number of reasons.

First, like many Dodger bloggers and fans, I really enjoy and respect Tony Jackson as a writer and his perspective on things related to the club.  He’s with the Dodgers day in and day out, and he knows his beat.  So if Jackson says he has sources that indicate that Kemp is “really full of himself” and “becoming an issue in the clubhouse” then I’m going to pay attention.  That said, I’ve personally covered a handful of games over the past year, and (in my very limited interactions) I’ve always found Matt Kemp to be a straightforward guy.  For example, I was at the second home game of the season when the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks in a five hour marathon.  Kemp had a couple bone-headed fielding plays, including one that allowed the eventual winning run to score.  Yet there he was, being a man and answering the difficult questions in the clubhouse after the game.

I am, however, surprised that Tony Jackson’s comments aren’t a bigger deal.  Saying that one of the Dodgers’ biggest young stars has issues is newsworthy, but I’m guessing that as long as it doesn’t divide the clubhouse or cause problems on the field, then there’s no reason to make a mountain out of a mole hill, right?  I’m probably most surprised that this came out in a chat on ESPN LA, rather in one of Tony’s regular articles.  Jackson seems to know what he’s talking about here, and I’d be curious to know why it wouldn’t be a bigger story, either at ESPN or in the eyes of other mainstream media outlets.  Food for thought.

Comments

  1. I would bet there’s a reason he put it into the chat.

  2. Good to hear from you, Chad! And I definitely think there’s a reason he dropped it into the chat vs. a regular article. I just felt like the content warranted a little more discussion.

  3. Hey Chris, I was talking about this to a buddy the other day and I asked “How come this is not a big deal?” Then I remembered! We’re in Los Angeles, 4 guys only cover the Dodgers on a daily basis. How many beat writers cover the Yankees? 100? This would’ve blown up in NY. Here? Not much. It’s all about the Lakers in the media I guess. I’m glad you and Chad talked about it for a bit. Don’t want to feel I’m the only one that feels bothered by Jackson’s comments…

    By the way, I agree with you. I like Jackson too. I think he does a solid job. I just want to know what’s going on. Why did he make those comments? What’s really going on?

    In my opinion, nothing is going on in the clubhouse. Jackson might just feel he’s a jerk. End of story.

  4. Hey Chris, I was talking about this to a buddy the other day and I asked “How come this is not a big deal?” Then I remembered! We’re in Los Angeles, 4 guys only cover the Dodgers on a daily basis. How many beat writers cover the Yankees? 100? This would’ve blown up in NY. Here? Not much. It’s all about the Lakers in the media I guess. I’m glad you and Chad talked about it for a bit. Don’t want to feel I’m the only one that feels bothered by Jackson’s comments…

    By the way, I agree with you. I like Jackson too. I think he does a solid job. I just want to know what’s going on. Why did he make those comments? What’s really going on?

    In my opinion, nothing is going on in the clubhouse. Jackson might just feel he’s a jerk. End of story.

  5. THEORY ONLY: The reason Tony Jackson dropped that Kemp info in a chat and didn’t save it for an article is because he has only the one source (in the full transcript see his comment about a coach that recommended to the front office to trade Kemp – front office, please fire this coach immediately) and can’t obtain a second source that he would want to have to make a full-blown story out of it. Conceding that he will never get a second source, he dropped it in his chat instead.

  6. That’s what I mean. I don’t think he had the stuff to give it context in an article. :o

  7. Interesting theories, and I’m glad we all had a chance to weigh in on this. Sounds like we’re all on the same page.

    And call it coincidence or not, but I’m sure you all saw Jackson’s very positive story last night on Kemp’s heroics: http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/columns/story?id=5190878

  8. Tony,

    How do you think things would have worked out if we left Manny in FA Land and took Dunn and a #2 pitcher with the money saved? Other than attendance, of course. Both players are in the NL with good hitters around them so I think the comparison would be fair.

  9. I think it is all a scam. He is in with Colletti to make Kemp the bad guy so they can trade him for a pitcher. Colleti and the Dodger owner couldn’t pull the trigger during the off season so now they are figuring out a way of getting a pitcher and it stinks, just like this whole ownership and management team of the Dodgers. We all would be better off if they sold the team.