Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp narrowly lost the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player award to Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. That the two were separated by about 60 points in voting illustrates just how close the race was. Now that we’ve learned that Braun did, in fact, use performance-enhancing drugs, that race isn’t nearly as close for a lot of people. Some have suggested retroactively naming Kemp the 2011 NL MVP and stripping Braun of his award.
Kemp isn’t one of those people. He thinks he lost the 2011 NL MVP race fair and square as it was chosen not by Braun but by writers. Via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“Honestly, it doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Kemp said. “I was in a race to win the MVP, I got second. It is what it is. The voters had an opinion about who they wanted to pick as the MVP. That’s who they picked, that’s who they felt was the MVP. You have to respect them for that. The other stuff, it is what it is, man. For me, all I’m worried about is getting healthy and getting back on the field and helping my team win.”
Hernandez added this bit, showing that Kemp may feel at least somewhat deserving of the award:
“It would definitely be nice to have a MVP trophy,” he said. “But I didn’t win the MVP. I lost. I got second.”
To a cheater, he was a reminded.
“Yeah…. OK.… Yeah,” he said, smiling.
Kemp did say Braun should be stripped of the award, per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick:
“Do I feel like it should be stripped? I mean, yeah, I do,” Kemp said. “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know? That’s not for me to decide.”
As for Kemp’s ailing ankle suffered sliding into Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki on Sunday, the team will decide tomorrow if he will need another stint on the disabled list, according to Gurnick.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.