It wasn’t the best of seasons for the Padres.
And they will end it without their best player.
Matt Kemp’s season is kaput was the news on Wednesday. He has a strained and partially torn tendon in his right middle finger.
With a rest period prescribed as between four-six weeks, that’s it for Kemp.
What a year it was for Kemp, more than a season’s worth of ups-and-downs.
There was his beginning, which seemed to have no end.
Kemp managed but one home run in the first nine weeks. It was his struggles from that gate that helped give manager Bud Black the boot. Some thought the Dodgers unloaded damage goods on the Padres as Kemp struggled.
The chatter of Padres general manager A.J. Preller getting hoodwinked in his trade with Los Angeles grew. It got louder when ex-Padre Yasmani Grandal made the NL All-Star team and Kemp didn’t.
But Kemp rallied, even if the Padres maintained their inconsistent ways.
Kemp checked “cycle” of the organization’s to-do list.
His 53 RBIs in the second-half were the third-most in the National League.
His 35 go-ahead RBIs are tied for the most in the Majors.
His 100 RBIs on the year are keen, only the 14th Padre to reach the century mark.
“He plays hard, he plays every day and he is interested in winning which bodes well for the future of the Padres,” interim manager Pat Murphy said.
It’s not expected Murphy will be part of that future. But he was given a present, in his eyes, in getting to pencil in “Kemp” in the heart of his lineup. He finished hitting .265, with 23 homers and, of course, those 100 RBIs.
“I’ve learned that guys reveal themselves and how they go about things when things aren’t good or smooth,” Murphy said.
What he saw in Kemp was an outfielder diving and crashing into walls in games that weren’t close. The scoreboard would often hint the competition was over, but never in Kemp’s eyes.
“It was his presence, the way he carries himself,” Murphy said. “That is very important to this team.”
It’s a team which failed miserably in 2015. What was promised and what was delivered couldn’t have been more different.
But Kemp, for the most part, was Kemp.
“I’ve really come to respect how he goes about his business, how he comes to play every day,” Murphy said.
But on Wednesday, the playing stopped and the healing began.
Kemp can get a head jump on getting better. The Padres will be fast on his heels starting on Monday.