With so many moves made this offseason, the Cincinnati Reds acquisition of Matt Kemp is being overlooked. Here’s why Reds fans should be thrilled to have Kemp in the Queen City.
During previous offseasons in Cincinnati, trading for Matt Kemp would have been the most significant move of the team’s offseason. However, in one of the busiest offseasons in Cincinnati Reds history, Kemp wasn’t even the biggest name of the trade that brought him to the Queen City. However, his addition should not be overlooked.
The Cincinnati Reds traded for starters Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray in separate trades, added Zach Duke to provide bullpen depth, and signed Derek Dietrich and José Iglesias for potential bench depth. Despite these moves, no move caught fans attention more than the Reds trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in December.
On December 22nd Cincinnati shipped Homer Bailey and a pair of prospects to the Dodgers in exchange for starting pitcher Alex Wood, infielder Kyle Farmer and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Unsurprisingly the name Reds fans were most excited about was Puig and for good reason. Puig is one of the games most well-known young players and presents one of baseball’s most outgoing personalities.
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Coming in as the second most talked about player from the deal was Alex Wood. The former All-Star has a chance to be the Cincinnati Reds opening day starter and if healthy should provide the team with a much-needed innings eater. However, the one name who many fans did not discuss, and probably should is Matt Kemp.
Kemp is 34-years-old and will likely not re-sign with the Reds when his contract expires after the 2019 season. However, Kemp, on paper, looks to be the perfect rental for a Reds team who’s right in the in-between stage of rebuilding and contending.
At age 34, Kemp has seen almost all baseball has to offer. Three All-Star Games, six postseason appearances and a trip to the World Series. For young outfielders such as Jesse Winker and Phillip Ervin, there will not be a better brain to pick.
On the field, Kemp is still a significant threat at the plate. Matt Kemp hit .290 for the Dodgers in 2018 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs, which earned him his first All-Star game trip since 2012. His power to all fields should bode well in the hitter’s paradise that is Great American Ballpark. Kemp could easily surpass the 21 home run mark he met last year if he gets the playing time.
The last reason why the Kemp addition is such a big one for the Reds is his trade value. With the NL Central being one of baseball’s best divisions, the Reds who are in the midst of entering the contending stage after a rebuild, may not be ready to be a serious division champion contender in 2019 despite the optimism.
Thus, if the Reds look to be on the outside looking in come July, they can trade Kemp’s expiring contract to a contender. That contender would get an experienced power bat for the playoff push while likely providing the Reds with talent to help them in the future.
Hopefully, the Cincinnati Reds will be in a position to keep Matt Kemp for all of 2019, and he will be a significant contributor to the team’s success. But, even if he succeeds and the team doesn’t there is substantial value in the Reds acquisition of Matt Kemp. Yesterday’s homer in the team’s first spring game was proof of that.