Opportunity Knocking

From Bill Plaschke, a fairly well-connected (albeit dumb and unprofessional) LA Times columnist:

"Insiders say that although management was furious with Jeff Kent for publicly ripping the team's young players last week, it agrees with some of the things he said.

There is concern over some of the rookies' attitudes and aptitudes.

There are home runs, but there are baserunning gaffes. There are dramatic catches, but there are forgotten sunglasses that lead to drops. There are some leadership moves, but also some lazy ones.

The Dodgers wouldn't offer specifics, but insiders say they have reached the conclusion that they can be contenders quicker and longer if one or two of these kids are traded for more developed players who could help them avoid a repeat of this September's meltdown.

The kid who would draw the biggest price is, ironically, the kid who was apparently one of Kent's biggest targets.

Matt Kemp's breathtaking ability makes him attractive. But his constant struggles to embrace the little things that turn talent into championships make him expendable."

For the last couple of weeks, the Dodgers have been involved in some clubhouse turmoil, as the team is being carried by youngsters like Russ Martin, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and Kemp. This hasn't been popular with some of the less-productive veterans like Luis Gonzalez, who are accustomed to deference, and who don't appreciate losing PT to a bunch of snot-nosed prospects. There's more context here and here, but in essence this is a kerfluffle over nothing.

Kemp has hit .331/.364/.509 in half a season with the Dodgers, even though he's only 22 years old and they play in a lousy power park. He's an honest-to-god emerging superstar, and if the Dodgers are determined to trade him just because some of their older players are unhappy about being shown up by a kid, there's no reason that their loss shouldn't be our gain.

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