Matt Kemp vows to stop slacking, then slacks

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When Dodgers GM Ned Colletti called out Matt Kemp back in April for poor defense and base running, the reaction, via Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart, was swift and harsh.

But when Larry Bowa said something the other day, the reaction was much different.

First, here’s what Bowa, the Dodgers’ fiery third base coach, told T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times while ranting about how some of L.A.’s players don’t care enough:

“I wish I had Matt Kemp’s tools because I would be in Cooperstown,” Bowa said. “He has so much athleticism. I don’t know if he knows what it’s like to go full bore for nine innings. He’s so talented, I don’t think his mind lets him ask, ‘Is there more here?'”

Kemp’s response?

“There’s more there,” Kemp said. “I agree. It’s something I need to sit here and think about and then change.”

It was a surprisingly straightforward answer, and maybe even a little contrite. It’s also possible that Kemp has simply grown tired of all the criticism and was just saying what he thought people wanted to hear him say. Like when you’re a kid and your parents keep asking you to clean your room. Eventually you say “yeah, yeah I’ll clean my room,” even though you have no intention of doing so.

If Kemp does indeed plan to change, I’m sure we’ll see some signs at any moment. As of Monday night, though, it appears he’s still sitting and thinking about it. During the first inning against the Padres, Kemp played a central role in his team failing to score any runs despite notching five consecutive hits. (Although in fairness he was not the only culprit)

During the play in question, James Loney was thrown out at third base for the final out while Kemp “nonchalantly crossed home plate. Umpire Ted Barrett signaled that his run didn’t count.”

But don’t worry Dodgers fans, Kemp knows he needs to change … starting now.

UPDATE: If you’re going to go 5-for-5 with a home run every night, slack all you want, Matt.

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Padres sign Jordan Lyles

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The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.

Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.

Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.