Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp does not want the National League MVP award even if it is stripped from Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, who won the award but is appealing a 50-game ban for testing positive after the season for performance-enhancing drugs.
Kemp, who was one home run shy of becoming the fifth player in Major League history to hit 40 homeruns and steal 40 bases, led the National League with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs. Kemp also finished third in batting average at .324 and second with 40 stolen bases.
Braun was voted the NL MVP by the Baseball Writers of America, by clubbing 33 homeruns and driving in 111 RBIs with a .332 average, all the while leading the Brewers to the postseason — something Kemp was unable to do for the Dodgers.
“I feel like [winning] that would be by default,” Kemp told ESPN. “I wish I would’ve won it just by them voting me and me being the MVP. That would be special. But hopefully, I will have the same type of year or even better and win it straight up this year, with us making the playoffs.”
Kemp, who agreed to stay in Los Angeles over the offseason, signed an eight-year, $160 million contract in November. He said he hoped this year he would win the MVP award outright with a 50-50 season, which would put him on an even shorter list in baseball history — one with only his name on it. No hitter has ever accomplished the feat.
“Anything is possible,” Kemp said. “We’ll see. We all have goals.”
First, however, Kemp will need to help resurrect the Dodgers slumping franchise, which finished 11.5 games out of first place in the NL West one year ago.
The Dodgers position players are not required to report to spring training until February 27.