Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports that Matt Kemp checked into camp at 215 pounds. Last year he was at 230.
After Pablo Sandoval, I think that Kemp’s weight may be the most significant conditioning story of spring training. No, not because he was fat like Sandoval or anything. But because I don’t think anyone suffered more last season from the perception that he was dogging it or lackadaisical or unfocused or whatever than Kemp did. His defense and base running suffered in 2010. That could be because of mental issues, but it might also have been because of physical ones. And no matter what the cause was, people were all OVER him for it.
If it was a mental block or something else altogether we’ll probably know once the season gets going. But by coming into camp slimmed down like he has, Kemp will at least buy himself a little more goodwill before anyone jumps on his case.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.