Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Voice of Reason Is...T.J. Simers?

From "Dodgers need Kemp to have a contact year" by T.J. Simers at the LA Times:

There are some folks around here, Page 2 included, who still think [Matt] Kemp is going to be superstar, the best of the best young players on the roster, and it's only a matter of more time and experience.

"I don't want to go anywhere," said Kemp, who turns 24 in September. "Everything everyone is saying, I've said to myself a million times. I'm too aggressive, maybe it's a lack of concentration at times, maybe I need a better plan at the plate, maybe I'm too power-happy. I've gone over it all."

The Dodgers have thrown five hitting instructors at Kemp the last two years: Eddie Murray, Bill Mueller, Mike Easler and now Jeff Pentland and Don Mattingly. Funny thing, the Dodgers aren't big into consistency, and yet that's what they want out of their players.

"I listen to people," Kemp said, still very much the headstrong youngster, "But I'm the one who has to do it." [...]

So what do the Dodgers do?

I say send [Ned] Colletti on a vacation until after the trading deadline. And maybe send Andruw Jones with him.

ANDRE ETHIER, who sometimes gets lost in the background because he's more solid than spectacular, made an interesting observation.

"They don't like consistent players in this game unless you're older," Ethier said. "They want to see young guys flash a lot of stuff or they get impatient."

Finally a mainstream columnist who sees Kemp for what he is: A hugely gifted young player who's struggling with the difference between his instincts and the expectations of others...all while leading the team in RBIs and being tied for second in home runs.

And Kemp wants to remain a Dodger—even James Loney bitched about being traded early on. When was the last time the Dodgers developed a player with Kemp's potential? Raul Mondesi? If a player like this shows up only once a decade, you hold on to him.

Ethier correctly identifies the organization's unending patience with veteran players, but management isn't necessarily looking for flash in its young players. Instead they want players with the tools of Kemp and the attitude of Blake DeWitt. And the Dodgers have a player like that—his name is Russell Martin. Clearly the answer lies in cloning technology.