4. Can Matt Kemp Provide Positive Value Going Forward?
When the Padres traded away a young, talented catcher in Yasmani Grandal for Matt Kemp and nearly all of his massive remaining contract obligation, many around baseball were questioning the sanity of the Padres GM. After an abysmal first half to the 2015 season, one in which both his offensive and his defensive performances were near career-lows, many were quick to say that the Dodgers won the trade outright with the Padres surely regretting the trade for years to come.
Kemp responded well to all the criticisms of both the Padres front office and his performance, finishing the year with perhaps one of the best second halves in all of baseball. Despite his strong second half at the plate, Kemp’s poor defensive output all season, and his poor first half, meant that he finished the year barely above replacement level, at only 0.4 WAR. While Kemp has shown he can still produce on offense, at least based on the second half of the season last year, his defense in right field has become a huge liability for not only the Padres but for his own WAR value as well. His success in 2016 will largely hinge on his defensive performance in right field, a question that will linger for the Padres all offseason.