So much for lovefest: Padres owner shreds Kemp, calls letter ‘b.s.’

New Braves outfielder Matt Kemp underperformed relative to his salary level in San Diego, upsetting Padres owner Ron Fowler. (AP photo)

New Braves outfielder Matt Kemp underperformed relative to his salary level in San Diego, upsetting Padres owner Ron Fowler. (AP photo)

If at least one person wasn’t going to be moved by Matt Kemp’s mini memoir on The Players Tribune recently, it figured it would be the guy who used to sign his paychecks and just paid the Braves $10.5 million to take him off his hands.

So, yeah. While Kemp wrote, “Hello, Atlanta,” now you can say hello to San Diego Padres owner Ron Fowler.

Fowler met with a reported 350 Padres’ season-ticket holders Wednesday night and, when it seems he got a little emotional when referencing Kemp (who was traded to the Braves for the unfortunate remains of Hector Olivera) and pitcher James Shields (who was dealt to the Chicago White Sox, in another giveaway of a trade, just to get him out of town and at least partially off the payroll).

Little the Padres have done has worked out in the last couple of years, which probably explains why San Diego Union Tribune writer Bryce Miller described Fowler as “the unscripted, unrestrained and unwavering voice of the plan the Padres began selling to ticket holders.”

The soundbites, aimed at Kemp and Shields, follow. Duck.

• “I’ll be damned if we’re going to pay high-priced talent to sit on their butts and not perform.”

• “We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve. If you’re making a lot of money and you think you’re already there, you’re not going to get better. … They had a bad attitude. You saw Kemp’s letter. Talk about a bunch of b.s.”

• In a general comment about free agents and major acquisitions that didn’t meet expectations, “Most of ’em are gone, thank God.”

So much for Fowler reciprocating Kemp’s relative love letter, particularly this excerpt:

“… There is so much that I will miss about San Diego, and I want to thank the Padres for giving me the opportunity to play in such a wonderful city. While I may no longer be a member of the Padres, San Diego will still be a place I call home, and the city where I plan to start my family. I also want to thank the team’s amazing fans. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms, and for being so friendly. Just yesterday, for instance, a kind lady came up to me in a restaurant in town to thank me for that time I hit for the cycle last August. She wished me nothing but the very best in the future, and it was such a sweet gesture. That’s what San Diego is all about. …”

(Kemp did sort of give San Diego a backhanded slap when he said he liked the trade to Atlanta in part because it was his first opportunity to play in a real “baseball town.” I’ll give him Atlanta over San Diego. Maybe. But he also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. If L.A. isn’t a baseball town, I guess I must’ve been in the wrong part of town during the near three decades I lived there — so help me Vin Scully.)

To get rid of Kemp, the Padres agreed to take Olivera and the $28.5 million remaining on his contract, as well as chip in $10.5 milllion to help the Braves’ pay down Kemp’s $64.5 million in salary from 2017 to 2019. Even with paying Olivera, it’s still far less than he would’ve had to pay Kemp.

So he’s a happy man today.

Well, happier.

Doesn’t he sound happier?

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16 comments
Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

I liked the move, but Kemp certainly looks a lot slower, bigger and older than he did when he was in his prime. 

A-pride
A-pride

Personally, I like the move in acquiring Kemp. All the things previously mentioned by other commenters a probably true but has anyone noticed how the Braves are scoring more runs...like it or not he provides that protection for FF in the lineup

DrTruth
DrTruth

@A-pride   The Braves are scoring more runs, which probably has more to do with poor pitching from the opposition than what FF is doing because of the addition of Kemp.  Here is what that "protection" in the lineup has done for FF in the 7 games with Kemp:

Tues Aug 2nd, 0 for 5, 3 SO

Wed Aug 3rd, 1 for 3, 2 SO, 1 BB

Thurs Aug 4th, 0 for 4, 2 SO

Fri Aug 5th, 0 for 4, 4 SO

Sat Aug 6th, 3 for 3, 2 BB

Sun Aug 7th, 0 for 3, 1 SO, 2 BB

Mon Aug 8th, 1 for 5

FF has been 5 for 27, 14 SO, 5 BB


5 hits in 27 AB is a BA of .185.  He has struck out in more than half of his ABs.  Those are the facts.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Trying to give this move by Hart/Coppy a chance ,but it may have been better to release Olivera, and take the financial loss rather than taking on the rest of Kemp's contract.I think it would have been a better investment to go after Ramos next year in free agency , the Braves still only have backup catchers on the roster.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Of course he's angry.  He just traded his "high-priced talent" for a player with zero value just so he can stop paying his salary.  He realized his sunk cost and is moving on.  That's where you start having all of those nasty "after all I've invested in you" regrets about taking LA's high-priced talent problem away.  "Oh, now I understand why the Dodgers paid us $32 Million to take Kemp off their hands."


Hart & Coppy are just third in line for the inevitable.  And they're in this situation specifically because they risked another $25.5 Million instead of accepting their $28.5 Million sunk cost when they knew Olivera was lost money.


When another organization says, "Sure.  We'll take your $28.5 Million problem off your hands if you take our $54 Million problem off our hands", it's almost certain that it won't end well for either side.  


Sunk Cost Fallacy.

jmccoy1252
jmccoy1252

Say what you will, Matt Kemp looks like Babe Ruth in this lineup. As far as the San Diego Owner is concerned, sounds like sour grapes to me.  Like so many before him, he thought he could buy a Championship, which only seems to work in New York.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@jmccoy1252  I know you want him to be successful as much as every Braves fan.  But so far he's no Charlie Hustle.  Through the first 4 games he's hitting .077, which is lower than 6 pitchers on the staff.  His 5 SOs in 13 ABs is worse than in SD.  And every ball hit to LF is an adventure.  His WAR is already -0.3.


Obviously this has to improve or he's going to have an angry GM in Atlanta before long...

housebroken706
housebroken706

Fowler has some culpabililty in the low state of the Padres... Matt Kemp didn't trade all their prospects for Kimbrel and Melvin Jr. Kemp had 100 RBIs last year, his first season in SD, and is 8th in the National League this year, on pace to drive in 100 more and ahead of heralded players Bryant and Stanton. He may not have a great attitude -- and he confessed as much in his letter. And he's not a great defensive outfielder. Fowler knew that but still signed him--to drive in runs. What more than 100 RBI seasons does Fowler want? Sounds to me like Fowler's covering his fanny for doing a crappy job hiring people to build a ball club. And sounds to me like Schulz should dig a little deeper for the true source of Fowler's angst.

TideDawg
TideDawg

No, Kemp's not warm and fuzzy about playing in Atlanta, neither do I think he's "warm and fuzzy" about playing baseball...period. He's an aging, over paid athlete that is not going to give his best, unless it benefits him. His team mates will soon learn that, if they don't already know it. He's terrible defensively and I doubt if he will hit .200 in Atlanta. Francouer and Peterson, and whomever they put in left field will outhit, out hustle, and be a better team mate than Kemp. Kemp is top dog in Atlanta because he's on a team of rookies and retreads. Rookies will look up to him...for awhile but will soon learn that he is not what they expect him to be, nor will they want to grow into what he is today.

blahblahSomethingClever
blahblahSomethingClever

@TideDawg You sure know a heck of a lot for someone who's never met Matt Kemp and especially never even played on a team with Matt Kemp. Your assessment ain't even worth two cents. Kemp came to the Braves and instantly became the offensive stat leader in every category other than BA. You sound as confused as your name, TideDawg?????

TideDawg
TideDawg

@blahblahSomethingClever @TideDawg I think 2+2 would confuse you Blah Blah but that's not the point. If Kemp turns out to be what you evidently think he is then you will have my congratulations and the Braves will have a winner....but, he wasn't swapped to the Braves because he was all of those wonderful things you might think he is.

Joe in Co
Joe in Co

Imagine if your old boss was allowed to torch you in a newspaper to your new boss? Super unprofessional. Padres owner needs to shut his trap.

khd713
khd713

Saw Kemp's first interview with the Braves' sideline reporter after his first game the other night. She asked him several benign questions about being in Atlanta, joining the team, etc. He answered them all with very short, almost terse responses. It seemed like he wanted nothing to do with the interview and couldn't wait to get away. It seemed like she had at least one more question she wanted to ask him, but he just said thanks and walked away. It was kind of weird, and not an ingratiating introduction to Braves fans. I just expected him to make a better effort at coming across as warm and friendly in his first Atlanta interview, but he came across as exactly the opposite. I don't know, but he just seems like someone I wouldn't trust, and I don't doubt that the letter I suspect his PR agent wrote is complete bs. Oh, well. That would just make him a typical pro athlete. As long as he hits home runs and drives in runs, no one will care.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@khd713

I noticed that interview also.

He certainly didn't give off any warm-and-fuzzies in his responses to the lady's questions.