Matt Kemp: No MVP by default
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said Tuesday that he doesn't believe he should be given the National League Most Valuable Player Award if the actual winner of the award, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, loses his appeal of a 50-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test.
Kemp finished second to Braun in balloting for the award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which already has said the award will stay with Braun no matter how his appeal is resolved.
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"I feel like that would be by default," said Kemp, who already is in spring training several days before the Dodgers' position players are required to report. "I wish I would've won it just by them voting me and me being the MVP. That would be special. But hopefully, I will have the same type of year or even better and win it straight up this year, with us making the playoffs."
Kemp expressed concern for what Braun is going through.
"It's an unfortunate situation," he said. "I still don't know what is going to happen. I know Braun. We have always been cool, and we have been friends. He is one of my favorite players in the big leagues. I hope it's not true, but I don't think it's for me or any of [the media] to decide. Only he knows for sure, and I don't know what the outcome is going to be."
Kemp also said he tried hard to recruit his good friend, free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, to the Dodgers last winter before Fielder ultimately accepted a nine-year, $214 million contract from the Detroit Tigers. The Dodgers reportedly offered Fielder a seven-year, $160 million deal that Fielder could have voided after the fifth year.
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"We talked on several occasions," said Kemp, who added that he wasn't asked by the Dodgers' front office to assist in luring Fielder to Los Angeles. "I got my recruiting on hard. A 50-plus home run, 100-RBI guy could have really helped our team. We tried to get him over here. The front office tried to get him over here, but it just didn't happen.
"I know we were pretty close."
Kemp's teammate, Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., also admitted to helping in the ill-fated pursuit of Fielder, his former teammate with the Brewers.
Kemp said he hasn't been paying close attention to the Dodgers' ongoing sale process and that he hasn't chosen a favorite from among the groups vying to buy the club.
"I think it will be a good thing to get all this past us," Kemp said. "It was an unfortunate situation last year. I think the fans will start concentrating on baseball again. ... [But] seriously, to tell you the truth, I don't know who is in the running. That is another thing that is out of my control."
Kemp fell just short of becoming the fifth member of baseball's rare 40-40 club last season, hitting 39 homers and stealing 40 bases to go with his .324 average, 33 doubles and .399 on-base percentage, then said when he signed his new eight-year, $160 million contract in November that he hoped to go 50-50 this year.
Asked about that statement on Tuesday, Kemp didn't back away from it.
"Anything is possible, he said. "We'll see. We all have goals."
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.