It's been a while since I posted anything. As a matter of fact, I was planning on ending Dodgerbobble.com, but some great new has sucked me back into the blogosphere. This great news I speak of is the long-term contract the Dodgers are about to sign with Matt Kemp.
According to Ken Gurnick, the team is close to signing an 8-year, $160 extension with the MVP candidate. From Dodger.com:
The Dodgers and outfielder Matt Kemp have reached a preliminary agreement on a franchise-record eight-year, $160 million contract extension pending the passing of a physical exam, according to a baseball source.
The deal would be the biggest in franchise history, eclipsing the seven-year, $105 million deal signed by right-hander Kevin Brown in 1998.
However, at a Dodgers Dream Foundation event Monday in Compton, Calif., Kemp was mum on the subject, unwilling to make anything official just yet.
Kemp, a contender for the National League Most Valuable Player Award after winning a Rawlings NL Gold Glove Award and an NL Silver Slugger Award, just finished a two-year, $11.1 million deal. He is eligible for one more arbitration season before hitting free agency.The Dodgers under general manager Ned Colletti have not given a contract beyond Juan Pierre's five-year deal.
Colletti has said that locking up Kemp would be an offseason priority, and the center fielder has been the club's focus, even though Andre Ethier also has one season of arbitration eligibility remaining before he's able to be a free agent.
Kemp, 27, batted .324 (third in the NL) with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs in 2011, leading the NL in homers, RBIs, runs scored (115) and total bases (353). The 2011 NL All-Star also finished among the league leaders in multihit games (57, tied for first), hits (195, second), slugging percentage (.586, second), extra-base hits (76, second), stolen bases (40, tied for second), on-base percentage (.399, fourth) and walks (74, tied for eighth).
Kemp became the seventh player in Major League history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases in his respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, '09-11), Honus Wagner ('08), George Sisler ('20), Chuck Klein ('32), Willie Mays ('55) and Hank Aaron ('63).
In addition, Kemp was the first Dodgers player to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs since Dolph Camilli in 1941 and the first player in Dodgers history to lead the NL in homers, RBIs and runs scored. He is one of five players all time to eclipse 30 homers, 35 stolen bases, 100 RBIs and a .310 average, joining Ken Williams ('22), Barry Bonds ('92), Alex Rodriguez ('98) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002).
This year, Kemp was voted by his teammates as the winner of the Roy Campanella Award, which goes to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Famer; he's received the Hank Aaron Award, as the most outstanding offensive player in the NL; the Baseball America Player of the Year; the NL Stan Musial Award, presented by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance; been named a finalist for the Players Choice Outstanding Player in the NL; and named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team.If all this is true, I have to give some major props to Ned Colletti for getting this deal done. I honestly didn't think he could pull it off. Losing Kemp to free agency after the 2012 season is something the franchise couldn't let happen. Now, it looks like he'll be manning the Dodger Stadium outfield for the next eight years.