3 possible signings Reds should prioritize over Tony Kemp

The Reds are rumored to be interested in Tony Kemp, but there are better options.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Adam Duvall
Boston Red Sox outfielder Adam Duvall / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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As the Cincinnati Reds continue to prepare for what the fanbase hopes is a return to the MLB Postseason in 2024, the club made an interesting signing on Monday, and was also involved an a peculiar rumor as well.

The Reds signed Josh Harrison to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. The veteran will be given the opportunity to earn a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster and play for his hometown team during the upcoming season.

3 possible signings Reds should prioritize over Tony Kemp

The rumor was a bit strange, however, as the Reds were linked to former Oakland A's utility player Tony Kemp. While his reverse splits saw him have success against left-handed pitching 2023, that would seem to be outlier. For his career, Kemp has hit just .241/.346/.343 off southpaws.

Rather than sign Kemp, there are still some quality bats available on the open market. After investing over $100 million in free agency this offseason, Cincinnati may not want to spend a lot, but should prioritize these three free agents over inking Kemp to a deal.

Michael A. Taylor

The Reds were said to have interest in Michael A. Taylor earlier this offseason, but the speedy outfielder is still available on the free agent market. Taylor's price may be a bit outside the Reds' comfort zone at this stage of the offseason, but if he remains unsigned heading into spring training, perhaps the former Minnesota Twin would be willing to lower his expectations ahead the 2024 season.

Taylor, who's also been linked to the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres this winter, fits this year's Reds team. The 32-year-old offers a right-handed bat to platoon alongside the plethora of left-handed hitting outfielders on Cincinnati's roster. The Reds current crop of outfielders features TJ Friedl, Will Benson, Nick Martini, and Jake Fraley; all of whom are left-handed batters.

Taylor offers the ability to play all three outfield spot and can do so while playing above-average defense. Last season, according to Baseball Savant, Taylor was worth nine outs above average (OAA), which put him among the 91st percentile in all of baseball.

Michael A. Taylor also possesses elite speed, which is something that would fit the Reds' personality. David Bell's club led Major League Baseball in stolen bases (190) a year ago, and it stands to reason that the Reds will be looking to repeat that in 2024. While Tony Kemp seems like an odd choice, Taylor is the perfect fit for the Reds.

Adam Duvall

Since the Cincinnati Reds are focused on bringing players home to the Queen City, why not add former slugger Adam Duvall to the list. While Duvall isn't from Cincinnati, he grew up just down the road in Louisville, Kentucky. Duvall played high school ball at Butler Traditional High School and starred at the University of Louisville before being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2010.

Duvall came to Reds by way of trade in 2015 in exchange for reliever Keury Mella. Duvall went to the All-Star Game in 2016 and was part of the Atlanta Braves World Championship team in 2021. Duvall would bring a veteran presence to the clubhouse along with postseason success.

Duvall, who, according to The Athletic (subscription required) has been linked to the Minnesota Twins this offseason, has bounced around the past few seasons, spending time with the aforementioned Braves as well as the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox. Last season, Duvall hit .247/.303/.531 in just under 100 games for the Red Sox.

Reds fans have seen the power that Duvall possesses. If Cincinnati is looking for that right-handed power bat to platoon with the left-handed hitting duo of Jake Fraley and Will Benson, there might not be a better option than Duvall.

In 2023, Adam Duvall posted better numbers against right-handed pitchers than he did against southpaws, and there's not much different in his career-splits either. Duvall was able to muscle 21 balls out of park a year ago, and during his time with the Reds, Duvall mashed 84 big flies and posted a .469 slugging percentage. Tony Kemp's career slugging percentage is .352.

Robbie Grossman

Signing Robbie Grossman seems like a no-brainer for the Cincinnati Reds. After having been part of the Texas Rangers World Series last season, Grossman still finds himself on the open market. Grossman's splits would suit the Reds' needs quite well.

The 34-year-old slashed .306/.416/.536 against southpaws in 2023. His .633 OPS against right-handed pitching was not good at all, but Cincinnati has plenty of bats in their lineup that crush right-handers. Grossman could find a home in right field in place of either Jake Fraley or Will Benson when the opposition send out a left-handed starter.

While Grossman plays below-average defense, his salary requirements wouldn't seem to be exorbitant, so he'd likely fit nicely into the remaining budget that Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall is working with the offseason.

Grossman isn't a burner, but he's not a snail on the base paths either. In fact, Grossman's sprint speed (27.8 feet per second), according to Baseball Savant, is actually faster than Tony Kemp's (26.1 feet per second). Grossman also does a great job of laying off bad pitches, and posted a strikeout-rate of just 23.3% a year ago.

If the Cincinnati Reds are looking to fill out that last spot on the bench, there are worse options than Tony Kemp. But pursuing the former Oakland A's utility player seems rather odd when players like Robbie Grossman, Adam Duvall, and Michael A. Taylor are still on the open market.