On Friday, the New York Mets signed former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, Matt Kemp to a minor league deal pending a medical evaluation.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 24, 2019
Kemp Released By Reds, Signed By Mets
Matt Kemp, 34, was released by the Cincinnati Reds earlier this month after struggling offensively and not “fitting in”. Prior to his release, Kemp hit just 1 home run and 5 RBI while slashing .200/.210/.283 in 62 plate appearances. For the Mets, who currently have 4 outfielders on the IL, the acquisition of Matt Kemp is a low risk move that could pay large dividends. If Kemp can regain some semblance of the player he’s been over the past 13 years, he’ll offer relief to the the Mets injury woes. Over his career, Kemp has a .285 batting average and a 162 game average of 27 home runs and 96 RBI.
Kemp is in the final year of an 8 year contract he signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2012 season. Since that time Kemp has been traded to the Padres, the Braves, back to the Dodgers and most recently, to the Reds. This year he was already slated to earn $21.75M paid out by the Dodgers, Padres, and Reds. Therefore, should the Mets promote Kemp to the Majors they shall retain his services for a prorated amount of the $555,000 league minimum. Since the Dodgers were already covering $3.5M of Kemp’s $21.75M salary and had their “everyday” centerfielder indefinitely on the IL, it was thought that there could be a third reunion between the two. However, with the emergence of rookie sensation, Alex Verdugo, those odds quickly faded.
Kemp’s Resurgent 2018
Prior to being traded to the Reds, Matt Kemp enjoyed a resurgent 2018 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The LA fan favorite is credited with keeping the Dodgers in contention during their injury-plagued slow start in 2018. Additionally, Kemp was voted to the 2018 National League All-Star team. It was his third All Star appearance, but his first since 2012. Although, his playing time diminished later in the season, Kemp went on to finish the season with 21 home runs, 85 RBI, a .290 batting average, and participated in his first World Series.