I think probable HOF, Jeff Kent should do the sensible thing and retire. Having him in the clubhouse when things are going well is hardly a picinic. What will he be like when instead of one of the best players on the team, he's one of the worse? He is going to be a terrible fit if the Dodgers continue to go with a youth movement.
It seems very likely that Jeff Kent will be playing 2nd base for the Dodgers in 2008. At least he will start out playing 2nd base for the Dodgers, if he ends the season playing 2nd base is another question altogether. He holds the Dodger single season home run record for ages 37, 38, and 39. He would only have to hit 2 home runs to win the 40 year old single season crown. Take a look at Dodgers who were age 39 and then fell off a cliff. Fred McGriff was one of the great home run hitters of his era, hit 13 in an injury plagued 39 year old season and then was done. Steve Finley who looked like he could play forever at the end of the 2004 season hit 36 home runs at age 39. He hit 19 over the next 3 years. So while Jeff Kent is a platinum bet to own the Dodgers single season home run record for a 40 year old is he a good bet to be any good?
As Jeff Kent turns 40 he is about to enter an area that historically has not been kind to 2nd baseman. Here is a list of 2nd Baseman sorted by age who ever did squat since integration. As you can see only HOF Joe Morgan was able to accomplish the feat at the age of 40 and most of that was accomplished by his OBP and the OPS+ of 103 is hardly noteworthy. I see several players who interest me when looking to see if Kent can withstand what no one else has been able to do. Bobby Grich one of the most underappreciated players of his time was done at age 37. HOF Craig Biggio's last good season came at age 39. At age 40 he fell off a cliff. Lou Whitaker retired at age 38 and given that he retired at such a high level it is possible he'd been a decent play at age 40. Old friend Davey Lopes had an outstanding season at age 38 for Oakland but it would be the last time he played 2nd base on a regular basis.
That is it folks, not very inspiring if your counting on Jeff Kent to continue to be an offensive force in 2008 at age 40. Throw in the fact that if he's not way above average offensively, he's killing you defensively. He cheats so much when a runner is on 1st base so that he can get to 2nd that the hole between 1st and 2nd results in endless singles snaking their way into right field. He still has a strong arm and that is about the only positive I can say about his defense. He's just one stupid head first slide home from earning his millions via the disabled list. He's used several Dodger black ballplayers as his verbal punching bag while he himself shows no more base running acumen then the idiot Giambi brother.
Just as McCourt mandated in the fall of 2005 that Milton Bradley find another uniform, I would do everything possible to make sure Jeff Kent was NOT playing 2nd base for the Dodgers in 2008. History is not on Jeff Kent's side. Ned has made a lot of questionable moves, giving Jeff Kent an extension for 2008 will probably also go in the negative ledger. If this team is counting on Jeff Kent to be a clean up hitter for a playoff caliber team they are going to be very disappointed.
I'd welcome any opinions on why Jeff Kent at age 40 is going to be a positive for the Dodgers in 2008.