Kemp is happy cellphone never rang with news of a trade
From friends and relatives, Matt Kemp heard the countless trade rumors this winter that involved him. So whenever Kemp heard his cellphone ring, he braced himself for the worst.
“If you look at your cellphone and there’s a 323 number or a 310 number that you know nothing about, you’re like, ‘Oh, here we go,’ ” Kemp said.
The dreaded call never came. Still a Dodger on Tuesday, Kemp was part of the team’s caravan that made stops at the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, L.A. Marshall High, the Dodger Dream Field at Culver Marina Little League and the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
Of the interest that other clubs showed in him, Kemp said, “It’s a little bit flattering, but I don’t want to be on any team other than this one. This is the team that drafted me. This is the team that had faith in me to get here and this is where I want to be for the rest of my career.”
Kemp downplayed the rift in the clubhouse last season, a rift that fueled speculation that he might be traded, saying it was a result of “frustration” and “miscommunication.”
Kemp spent most of the winter working out in Arizona, sculpting a frame that he said now weighs around 220 pounds. He was up to 240 at the end of last season.
“I had to shed some pounds so I could move a little bit more,” Kemp said. “I feel quicker, I feel way stronger. Last year, I was over in the Dominican playing winter ball and I didn’t get to work out as much. I was doing baseball stuff.”
Kemp batted .342 over 98 big league games last season, including .382 in September.
Catcher Russell Martin also spent time working out in Arizona. Though Martin appeared broader-shouldered on Tuesday than he did in the fall, he said he lost weight, something he credited to reducing his body fat percentage from close to 10% to 9%.
“I feel more explosive,” Martin said.
Martin was less forthcoming when asked about General Manager Ned Colletti’s claim that his agent declined to discuss a multi-year extension that would have bought out at least some of his arbitration years.
Martin’s agent, Bob Garber, acknowledged that he never had formal talks with the Dodgers about an extension, but would not comment on the matter any further.
“It’s not up to me and Bob,” Martin said. “It’s up to the team. If the team wants to offer something legitimate, it’d be idiotic not to look at it.”
Closer Takashi Saito is “close” to signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers and should be under contract by spring training, a team source said. Saito, who made $1.2 million last season, is under the Dodgers’ control.
With the 90,505 tickets that were available for the Dodgers’ exhibition game at the Coliseum against the Boston Red Sox on March 29 already sold out, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said the club is studying the feasibility of adding seats and selling more tickets. Seats were not available in center field, the side of the east end zone on the days the venue is used for football.
Asked if the additional seats could push the attendance past the single-game major league record of 93,103 fans, McCourt replied, “I think for sure.”