Dodgers Matt Kemp Earns Second Silver Slugger

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Louisville Slugger today announced that outfielder Matt Kemp won his second-career Silver Slugger Award. The awards were handed out in a special hour-long telecast on MLB Network. After winning a Rawlings Gold Glove Award the day before , Kemp became the first-ever Dodger to take home both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in multiple seasons after also doing so in 2009.

  The only other Dodgers to have won both awards in the same season were Dusty Baker (1981) and Russell Martin (2007). Kemp joined the Reds' Brandon Phillips and the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki as the only National League players to claim both a Rawlings Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award in 2011.  

Kemp was also honored last week as the Dodgers' first-ever winner of the Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive performers in each league. Additionally, he was selected as Baseball America's Major League Player of the Year, chosen as a Sporting News All-Star and is a finalist for the Players Choice Award for the Player of the Year, which will be announced tomorrow.  

In his fourth full Major League campaign, Kemp put together one of the best all-around offensive seasons in Major League history. In addition to a Triple Crown chase that came down to the final week of the season, Kemp finished just one home run shy of becoming the fifth player in Major League history to hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in the same season.  

Kemp ranked among the National League's top four in batting average (.324, 3rd), home runs (39, 1st), RBI (126, 1st), runs (115, 1st), stolen bases (40, T-2nd), on-base percentage (.399, 4th), slugging percentage (.586, 2nd), hits (195, 2nd), multi-hit games (57, T-1st) and total bases (353, 1st). He became the seventh player in history to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, average, RBI and steals in his respective league, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb (1907, 1909, 1910, 1911), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963) as the only players to accomplish this feat.  

The 27-year-old became the first Dodger to lead the National League in home runs and RBI since Dolph Camilli in 1941 and finished the campaign as the first Dodger ever to lead the NL in homers, RBI and runs scored.  

The Oklahoma native is one of five players in Major League history to hit more than 30 homers, steal more than 35 bases, drive in more than 100 runs and hit higher than .310 in a season, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002). --Los Angeles Dodgers.   

No Shortage of Potential Buyers Only a day after Frank McCourt declared he would sell the Dodgers, there was a scurry of potential buyers with a number of familiar names any Los Angeles fan would recognize, including O'Malley, Claire, Garvey and Hershiser.

Peter O'Malley , whose family owned the Dodgers for nearly half a century, said Wednesday he would like to run the team once again. O'Malley said he hopes to lead an investment group that would buy the Dodgers, enabling him to return as the team's chief executive.

"I want to reconnect the team and the community," O'Malley said. "The health of the organization has deteriorated in the last 12 months. The standing of the organization in the community has deteriorated. I am confident I can restore it to respectability quicker, sooner and probably better than — or at least as well as — anyone else. I want L.A. to be proud of the Dodgers, from top to bottom. As you read the blogs and hear people talk, the institution is not as highly regarded and respected as it should be. That has to be resolved quickly."

O'Malley discussed his plans Wednesday with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. O'Malley declined to identify any of his possible investors but said he has no concerns about assembling a group that could pay the $1 billion or more that might be necessary to buy the Dodgers. He said he has met with some prospective investors and would meet with others, with the intention of assembling a group that would be "basically local."

Fred Claire, the general manager of the Dodgers' last World Series championship team, said Wednesday that he has joined an investment group interested in buying the team. Claire said he has worked since July with Ben Hwang, a onetime Dodgers batboy who is the president of the investment group. Hwang is a former senior executive at Life Technologies Corp., an international biotechnology company. The third principal in the group is Andy Dolich, formerly a top business executive for the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Claire said the group has secured some of the funding necessary to bid on the Dodgers and has met with investors in the United States and Asia in hope of securing the rest. The team could command $1 billion or more at auction. Claire worked for the Dodgers for 30 years, serving in the publicity and marketing departments before replacing Al Campanis as the club's general manager in 1987. The Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, their last appearance in the Series. Every other National League West club has appeared in the World Series since then.

Claire left the Dodgers in 1998, after his corporate superiors at Fox negotiated the trade of Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins. Claire said he has no particular position in mind for himself should his group buy the Dodgers. "That's not my motivation," he said. "My interest is to play whatever role is needed to get the Dodgers back to where they need to be -- on the field, in the community, and internationally."

Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser. "What we know is that Major League Baseball will do a series of pre-approvals. We look forward to that process," Garvey said on 710 ESPNLA's "Mason and Ireland" show Wednesday afternoon.

Garvey said he's been working to assemble this investment group for over two years. At one point he tried to buy the team directly from embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, but was rebuffed and was later fired from his position with the club following a series of public comments he made about the team and McCourt.

Hershiser joined the investment group this spring. A number of other Dodger greats are also involved with the group, but have remained silent so far, because of their association with the team.

Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, has expressed interest in buying the Dodgers in the past, though he recently told the Los Angeles Times that McCourt's $1.2 billion price tag was too high. In recent years, Cuban also attempted to buy the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is interested in buying the Dodgers, but only for the right amount. "It all comes down to price," Cuban wrote Wednesday morning in an e-mail to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It's important to have more than enough money to pay players and invest in the organization."

Dennis Gilbert. The Chicago White Sox executive and former sports agent has close ties to Selig through White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The L.A. native came up short in a bid to by the Rangers in 2010. He owns box seats behind home plate at Dodger Stadium..

Ron Burkle, The supermarket magnate has a net worth north of $3.2 billion, but would likely only be a silent backer in an ownership group, like his arrangement with Pens legend Mario Lemieux as part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tom and Alec Gores and Alan Casden. The Southern California businessmen have ties to professional sports, and the Los Angeles Times notes Casden pursued the Dodgers before McCourt acquired them.

Mark Attanasio, Milwaukee owner. He denied interest on the record back in April. "My wife and my family just moved into a new place in downtown Milwaukee," he told MLB.com. "We're excited to be part of the city and building what we hope is a championship team here."

Tom Werner Boston Red Sox Chairman. He lives in Los Angeles, though obviously a prominent members of another organization.

Eli Broad, The 77-year-old Los Angeles-based real estate developer and philanthropist offered to buy the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004 if Frank McCourt's deal fell through. Broad entered the bidding at the 11th hour at the urging from former mayor James Hahn and former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, who would have served as the chairman of Broad's group.

Magic Johnson, The Lakers great seems more interested in being part of the AEG-backed group to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles than becoming a baseball owner. But he certainly has the reputation, fortune and clout to join an ownership group.

Bill Burke, The former L.A. Marathon founder and businessman reportedly made McCourt an all-cash $1.2 billion offer in August. According to the L.A. Times, the bid was backed primarily by Chinese investors and was set to expire within 21 days. That deadline obviously came and went. The bid was later questioned by baseball insiders as a ploy by McCourt to stir up interest in the team.

FOX, Don' gag, but as ironic as it would be, it makes too much financial and strategic sense for the network to consider reacquiring the Dodgers again after the way Frank McCourt toyed with their future television rights. After losing the Lakers starting next season, Fox can't afford to lose the Dodgers to new rival Time Warner. Having gone down this road once, it is hard to see baseball going for this move unless there are no other realistic option.

Sign Juan Rivera
The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with outfielder Juan Rivera major league sources told FOXSports.com. The deal, which is pending a physical exam, will pay Rivera a $4 million base salary during the 2012 season. It includes a $4 million club option for 2013 (with a $500,000 buyout) and $500,000 in performance bonuses each year, one source said.

Rivera had a .701 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) in 132 games this year between the Blue Jays and Dodgers. He was in the Los Angeles lineup almost every day — in left field or right field — when the Dodgers tied for the National League's best record over the final 5-1/2 weeks of the season (25-10).

Barring trades, the Dodgers' outfield for next year appears set: Rivera and possibly Jerry Sands in left field, Matt Kemp in center and Andre Ethier in right. If the Dodgers feel strongly enough about Sands' ability to play every day, they could trade Ethier, who is set to become a free agent after the 2012 season.

Add Two to 40-Man Roster
The Los Angeles Dodgers added outfielder Alfredo Silverio and first baseman-outfielder Scott Van Slyke to their 40-man roster.

Silverio batted .306 with 16 home runs and 85 RBIs last season with Double-A Chattanooga, and earned selection to the All-Star Futures Game in July.

Van Slyke won the Southern League batting title with a .348 average and had 20 homers and 92 RBIs for Chattanooga. He was named the Dodgers' minor league player of the year. He is a son of former All-Star outfielder Andy Van Slyke.

Van Slyke, 25, had a .427 on-base percentage and .595 slugging percentage in 2011 for Chattanooga, adding up to a 1.022 OPS that was second-best in the Southern League behind Paul Goldschmidt (who then had a 117 OPS+ for Arizona down the stretch) .

Silverio, 24, finished his year with a .340 OBP and .542 slugging, as well as this bizarre combination: 18 triples, 11 stolen bases, 12 caught stealing.

Free Agents
Dodgers--INFs Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles, 3B Casey Blake, LF Juan Rivera, C Rod Barajas, Ps Jonathan Broxton, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Mike MacDougal and Vicente Padilla


Braves--SSs Alex Gonzalez and Jack Wilson, CF Nate McLouth, Ps Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill

Diamondbacks--1B Lyle Overbay, 1B-OF Xavier Nady, 2B Aaron Hill, Ps Zach Duke and Jason Marquis

Orioles--SS Cesar Izturis, DH Vladimir Guerrero

Red Sox--1B-LF Conor Jackson, RF J.D. Drew, C Jason Varitek, DH David Ortiz, Ps Scott Atchison, Erik Bedard, Trever Miller, Jonathan Papelbon, Tim Wakefield and Dan Wheeler

Cubs--1B Carlos Pena, 3B Aramis Ramirez, LF Reed Johnson, Ps John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz and Kerry Wood

White Sox--3B-SS Omar Vizquel, LF Juan Pierre, C Ramon Castro, P Mark Buehrle

Reds--SS Edgar Renteria, C Ramon Hernandez, Ps Francisco Cordero and Dontrelle Willis

Indians--CF Grady Sizemore, RF Kosuke Fukudome, DH Jim Thome, P Chad Durbin

Rockies--2B Mark Ellis, Ps Aaron Cook, Kevin Millwood and J.C. Romero

Tigers--INFs Wilson Betemit, Ramon Santiago, RF Magglio Ordonez, utilityman Carlos Guillen, RF Magglio Ordonez, Ps Brad Penny and Joel Zumaya Marlins--3B Greg Dobbs and Jose Lopez, P Javier Vazquez

Astros--SS Clint Barmes, LF Jason Michaels

Royals--C Jason Kendall, Ps Bruce Chen and Jeff Francis

Angels--1B Russell Branyan, Ps Joel Pineiro, Horacio Ramirez and Fernando Rodney

Brewers--1B Prince Fielder, SS Yuniesky Betancourt, INF Craig Counsell, CF Mark Kotsay, utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr., Ps LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez and Takashi Saito

Twins--RF-1B Michael Cuddyer, RF Jason Kubel, Ps Matt Capps and Joe Nathan Mets--SS Jose Reyes, OFs Scott Hairston and Willie Harris, Ps Miguel Batista, Chris Capuano, Jason Isringhausen and Chris Young

Yankees--3B Eric Chavez, LF Andruw Jones, DH Jorge Posada, Ps Luis Ayala, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Damaso Marte and Sergio Mitre

A's--LF Josh Willingham, CF Coco Crisp, RF David DeJesus, DH Hideki Matsui, P Rich Harden

Phillies--1B-OF Ross Gload, SS Jimmy Rollins, LF Raul Ibanez, C Brian Schneider, Ps Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Roy Oswalt

Pirates--1B Derrek Lee, SS Ronny Cedeno, LF-RF Ryan Ludwick, Cs Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder P Paul Maholm

Padres--1B-OF Brad Hawpe, Ps Heath Bell, Aaron Harang and Chad Qualls Mariners--INF Adam Kennedy, OF Wily Mo Pena, C Josh Bard, Ps David Aardsma and Jamey Wright Giants--SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Cody Ross, LF Pat Burrell, RF Carlos Beltran, utilityman Mark DeRosa, P Guillermo Mota Cardinals--1B Albert Pujols, SS Rafael Furcal, INF Nick Punto, OF Corey Patterson, C Gerald Laird, Ps Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson and Arthur Rhodes Rays--1B Casey Kotchman, LF Johnny Damon, C Kelly Shoppach, P Juan Cruz Rangers--OF Endy Chavez, C Matt Treanor, Ps Mike Gonzalez, Darren Oliver, Brandon Webb and C.J. Wilson

Blue Jays--2B Kelly Johnson, C Jose Molina, Ps Shawn Camp, Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch

Nationals--INF Alex Cora, LFs Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, CF Rick Ankiel, C Ivan Rodriguez, Ps Todd Coffey and Livan Hernandez

In addition Diamondbacks catcher Henry Blanco declined his 2012 player option, so he will be a free agent.

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