Matt Kemp won the NL Gold Glove award last year, a year in which he batted .297/.352/.490 with great counting stats - 26 HR, 101 RBI, 34 SB. As we've seen over the years, offense does matter in the minds of myopic Gold Glove voters, and that was certainly the case in this voting where Mike Cameron and Aaron Rowand were better defenders by most measures, including UZR/150 and the Fielding Bible awards.
Fast forward to 2010 and it's apparent to anyone who has watched Kemp regularly this year (raises hand) that he's struggling out there in center. Misplaying balls, taking poor routes, and not throwing to the correct base have all been more frequent occurences so far this year. Is it a slow start? Poor work ethic? The money? Rhianna? Only Kemp and the Dodgers "know", but what Ned Colletti did on Tuesday is grounds for firing (just add it to that ever-expanding list).
In a radio interview, Colletti, understandably frustrated with the product HE and Frank McCourt have put out on the field had these things to say about his best player:
In referring to his poor defense:
"Why is it? Because he got a new deal?" Colletti said in reference to Kemp's new two-year, $10.95 million contract.
"If this is the last day of the season and people are voting for the Gold Glove, his name is not even on the ballot. It's a shame that he would go from where he was a year ago to revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you're not sure where it's going, or if it's going to get caught."
I didn't get to listen to the full interview, but apparently there were no references to any of the following:
- Vicente Padilla being given $5 million and then predictably laying an egg and getting hurt
- Not offering Randy Wolf arbitration
- The horrendous job Rick Honeycutt has done with the pitching staff
- The fact that the Dodgers broke camp with two pitchers with the last name of Oritz.
- Colletti's own egregious decisions that have resulted in $14 million of McCourts money being paid to Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, and yes, Nomar Garciaparra tihs year. Tell me that doesn't impact the 2010 payroll and the quality of the product on the field. Can't do it.
Calling out your best player is supposed to help motivate a flawed team with a good offense and a pitching staff with more holes than Jon Gosselin's argument that he's a good guy? Look in the mirror Ned. You may have done irreparable harm to the relationship with your franchise player. Dodgers fans just have to hope that the team is sold prior to Kemp's contract being up. Oh for the days of Fred Claire...
Thank you for your time. Rant over.