Matt Kemp's potential landing spots: Indians, Dodgers, Yankees among teams who could use veteran outfielder
The Reds released Kemp as he continues to recover from a fractured rib
On Saturday the Cincinnati Reds veteran outfielder Matt Kemp, who is currently recovering from a fractured rib. Kemp hadn't played well for the Reds when he had been healthy, hitting just .200/.210/.283 in 62 plate appearances. Factor in his unavailability and the Reds' recent decision to promote top prospect Nick Senzel, and the divorce made sense.
Because Kemp has a track record of hitting (he was an All-Star as recently as last season) and because he'll soon be available for the league-minimum wage, it stands to reason that he's going to draw interest from a number of clubs. We are nothing if not messy, so we decided we'd recklessly speculate on five teams who may check in on Kemp's status over the coming weeks.
Note that this is guesswork rather than some scientific endeavor. Also note that the teams are listed below in alphabetical order rather than in order of perceived interest or likelihood.
Cleveland has all the necessary attributes for signing Kemp. Bad offense? Check. Predilection for cheap players? Absolutely. Willingness to see if a veteran has one more run? Oh, yeah. Already Cleveland has given nearly 120 plate appearances to Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Gonzalez. Neither has made the most of the opportunity. Kemp may not either -- especially since this would be his first burn as a DH -- but try enough hats on and eventually one will fit.
This seems like a joke -- Kemp has had two different stints with the Dodgers, each ending in salary-dump trades to send him elsewhere -- but it's not. Los Angeles could use another right-handed stick during A.J. Pollock's absence, and while Kemp's own injury may prevent the timelines from matching up, he would make sense as a plug-and-play option. Plus, hey, the Dodgers are already paying Kemp -- why not see if he has another improbable run left in him?
Unlike Cleveland and the Dodgers, the Marlins aren't competing for anything. Nonetheless, we're including them because signing a big-name player for pennies in order to milk whatever was left of their stardom would fit the franchise's ethos. To be fair to the Marlins, such a move would make baseball sense, too: Miami has the worst lineup in the majors and Kemp would permit Brian Anderson to move back to third base. (Lately Anderson has been used in right field out of deference to … um, 29-year-old journeyman Jon Berti.) (Really.)
Just what the Yankees need, another injured player. This is the same Yankees bunch who gave Troy Tulowitzki a look, so don't dismiss it out of hand. Still, Kemp's unstated recovery timetable probably takes him out of consideration for the Yankees, who have Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton (among others) . But were one to suffer a setback or another injury, then plugging in Kemp as the left fielder or DH would be a fair play.
As with the Marlins, the Giants aren't playing for anything but draft position. Farhan Zaidi does know Kemp from their shared days in Los Angeles, though, and could justify signing Kemp to potentially boost a toothless offense. Of course, Zaidi has shown an appetite for more athletic, defensive-minded outfielders so far. Kemp does not fit that profile.
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