Matt Kemp has lost over 40 pounds

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Harold Reynolds said on MLB Network on this morning that Matt Kemp lost 41 pounds during the offseason. Reynolds added that Kemp was pushing to lose 50 pounds. Kemp showed up at Dodgers camp today and people are saying he’s noticeably thinner.

In other news, Matt Kemp had 40-50 pounds to lose. I mean, I’ve watched him play a lot in the past couple of years and he is a beefier dude than he was back in his MVP candidate days, but 40-50 pounds is . . . alot.

Whatever it takes, I suppose. He ended up back on the Dodgers in a mutual salary dump situation involving Adrian Gonzalez and the Braves, so it’s not like the Dodgers need to play him. Indeed, they could simply release him, pay him and be no worse off. But if Kemp is in shape and does show some improvement on defense and at the plate, it’s not crazy to think that he could stay with the club as a backup outfielder. Wouldn’t bet the farm on it or anything, but stranger things have happened.

And for what it’s worth, I’m not going to put this in the Best Shape of His Life category. A judgment call, mostly, in that it didn’t seem calculated to improve Kemp’s stock as opposed to simply being an observation. BSOHL usually comes with some sort of propaganda angle. This seems more like a “dang, Kemp’s lost some weight” thing.

UPDATE: Showing up to camp in “great shape” is not new for Kemp, our Matthew Pouliot reminds us. This story was written about Kemp allegedly being in great shape . . . a year ago.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.