Los Angeles Dodgers: 7 Reasons Matt Kemp's Huge Contract Will Hurt His Play

Sam Bullard@sambullard44Contributor IIIDecember 6, 2011

Los Angeles Dodgers: 7 Reasons Matt Kemp's Huge Contract Will Hurt His Play

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    I'm stuck between The Rock and hard place on this one. I know that isn't the expression, I just think it would be far more confusing to be stuck between The Rock and a hard place than just a plain old rock.  

    "What is he doing here?" "What's wrong with his eyebrow?" And, "Where do his parents come from?" are all very valid questions.  

    I'm deflecting because, despite being told to publish a slideshow on "reasons Matt Kemp's big contract will hurt his play," I can't bring myself to sell number 27 up the river. Alas, the unspoken oath I took when I decided to become a pro bono sports writer must be upheld.

    It is with great displeasure that I submit, hopefully for your disapproval, seven reasons Matt Kemp's huge contract will hurt his play.

    Forgive me, fellow Dodger fans.

Pressure from Management

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    Considering how much money is being thrown at him, Don Mattingly will expect Matt Kemp to be his go-to guy.  

    Rightly so, given the outstanding season he had last year, and the fact that he was edged out, some would say unjustly, by Ryan Braun for the NL MVP Award.  

    Any expectations Mattingly had for Kemp before will be taken to new heights given the amount of money the club is spending on his service.  

Pressure from His Teammates

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    Nothing is more annoying than an undeserving recipient of a lot of good things.  

    The guys sitting on the bench making a fraction of Kemp's contract will be eyeing him with a microscope. If he isn't performing to MVP-candidate-worthy standards, he'll lose the support of his team.

    While athletes are always driven by self-criticism, they're likewise affected by the way their peers judge them. Nobody wants to be the goat, and the last thing Kemp wants is to be is an overpaid leper.

Pressure from the Fans

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    While no athlete will ever admit to being affected by criticism from the fans, when you're a superstar like Matt Kemp, it's tough to ignore the heat.  

    It's even tougher to ignore the heat coming from a notoriously aggressive fan base such as the one inhabiting Chavez Ravine. If the fans aren't pleased with Kemp's performance in the coming season, you better believe they'll let him hear it.  

Pressure from Himself

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    OK, I swear this is the last "pressure from" slide.  

    Cop-out? Maybe. Space-filler? Absolutely.  

    The pressure Kemp feels from his new monstrosity of a contract will only be magnified by the pressure from his recently announced attempt at the first 50-50 season in baseball history.  

    The target on his back can't feel reassuring, and there are just as many people waiting for him to succeed as there are for him to fail.

Lack of Motivation

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    One of the biggest worries surrounding any athlete in any sport coming off a new contract extension is whether or not he will be as motivated now as he was when he was playing for the cash.  

    Considering the mind-boggling amount of money Kemp is being paid, I can't say I wouldn't convince myself I have a license to slack off.

    Now that he has the money in hand, it's very likely we could see a drop-off in production.


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    Nobody can deny the phenomenal season Kemp had last year. With a .324 ERA, 39 home runs, and 126 RBI, last season is going to be a tough act to follow.  

    Regardless of motivation, the amount of energy these guys exert to maintain such a high level of play is mind-boggling.  

    Last season was the perfect example of how an athlete needs to play in a contract year, and now that Kemp has the contract he worked so hard for in hand, it's difficult to tell whether he'll be physically and emotionally able to achieve such heights again so soon.

The Rock and a Hard Place

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    I can't in good conscience keep racking my brain for reasons Matt Kemp isn't going to have an amazing season. 

    Contrary to semi-popular belief, I have faith that number 27 is one of the rare players that truly won't be affected by the dollar signs. Losing the NL MVP by such a small margin has lit a fire inside of Kemp that seemingly no amount of money will be able to extinguish.  

    He will rise to the occasion, and Dodger fans will see the same, or dare I say, better Matt Kemp than last year. 

    Bring on the 50-50, Matty.