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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Must-Click Link: The Turbulent Final Year of Yordano Ventura’s Life

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 23:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals reacts in the sixth inning while taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in game six of the 2015 MLB American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 23, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.

It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.

Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.