April 20, 2024

Matt Kemp returning to Dodgers in advisory role: Source

PHOENIX – The Dodgers are expected to reunite with a fan favorite, bringing former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp back into the fold in an advisory role, a source confirmed to The Athletic.

While the role isn’t finalized yet, the 39-year-old is expected to return to the organization where he spent his first nine seasons before returning for a one-year All-Star run in 2018. Kemp’s expected hire was first reported by USA Today.

The three-time All-Star finished second in National League MVP voting in 2011, finishing a homer shy of what would’ve been the lone 40-homer, 40-stolen base season in franchise history.

Kemp was among the headliners of a noteworthy group of homegrown Dodgers that debuted in the late 2000s, a group that included the likes of fellow fan favorites Andre Ethier (who was a presence earlier in Dodgers camp), Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and, of course, Clayton Kershaw. The outfielder blossomed during his breakout 2011 season, earning a massive contract extension that November before being traded to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster deal three winters later during president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s first winter running the club.

Friedman took on Kemp again nearly three years later to the day in a salary-clearing move with the Atlanta Braves. Kemp, expected to be on the periphery of the roster during that 2018 season, and working alongside his new teammate, Max Muncy, reshaped his body that winter and sparked a resurgent campaign. He became an All-Star once again, brought a flood of No. 27 jerseys back to Dodger Stadium and helped boost the club to the first World Series appearance of his career.



The Texas gym where Matt Kemp got back into shape with Max Muncy

“That was a special moment, to be able to kick it with those guys,” Kemp said of that season when speaking last month with AM 570’s David Vassegh. Kemp finished 2018 with a .818 OPS and 21 home runs in 146 games, launching a solo homer in his first-ever World Series at-bat.

In a separate money-moving transaction that following winter, Los Angeles dealt Kemp away again — this time to Cincinnati. He’d play 63 more games in the big leagues over the next two seasons with the Reds and the Colorado Rockies.

Now, Friedman and the Dodgers are bringing the slugger back for a third time.

Kemp is one of several recently-retired players the Dodgers have brought into the organization over the last 12 months, including longtime slugger Nelson Cruz and former All-Star right-handers Chris Archer and Tyson Ross.

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(Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)