Matt Kemp Was at Home on Road as a Visitor to Coors Field -- Now, He's Looking to Call Coors Home
Matt Kemp has always felt at home when he visited Coors Field.
Now, he has a chance to call Coors Field home.
The long-time Dodger has agreed a minor-league contract with the Rockies, and will be among the players who will report to Coors Field later this week in hopes he can usse a showcase in the three-week training camp to land a spot on the Rockies Opening Day roster.
"He doesn't want to see the end of his career anytime soon," said Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich. "We are well aware of the damage he's done against us. It's a minor league contract. It's an opportunity."
Damage he has done against the Rockies? Kemp has a career .314 batting average and .611 slugging percentage against the Rockies, and has hit 46 home runs with 154 RBI, his most home runs and RBI against any opponent.
And Coors Field. . . .
His .327 batting average at Coors Field has come in 86 games and ranks behind only Citizens Bank in Philadelphia (.333) and Citi Field in New York (.328). His .389 on-base percentage and .616 slugging percentage are higher than any other park in which he has played at least 10 games.
The Rockies had talked to Kemp during the off-season, but he signed with the Miami Marlins. The Marlins, however, did not offer him a contract to be among the 60-man player pool.
When he became available the Rockies decided he was worth a look the next three weeks, particularly with the DH being used in the NL for the 60-game regular season.
"I think the DH is an obvious benefit, in terms of his potential place on our major league roster," said Bridich. "It's a right-handed power bat and he's got a good sense of the strike zone. We've seen it for how many years? He's very motivated to get back on the field and continue his career."
At the age of 35, Kemp struggled a year ago, battling injuries, which limited him to 20 games with Cincinnati. He hit .200 and had one home run.
The only everyday right-handed bats in the Rockies lineup are shortstop Trevor Story and third baseman Nolan Arenado.
The projected lineup includes left-handed hitters Tony Wolters at catcher, Daniel Murphy at first base, Ryan McMahon at second base, and left fielder Raimel Tapia, center fielder David Dahl and right fielder Charlie Blackmon.