A's Acquire Tony Kemp From Cubs To Bolster Bench
Short on lefthanded reserve options, the A’s made a move on Monday to acquire utilityman Tony Kemp from the Cubs in exchange for Double-A first baseman Alfonso Rivas.
Kemp, 28, helps balance a club that entered the day with only three lefty hitters on its projected roster—first baseman Matt Olson, backup catcher Austin Allen and switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman.
Alfonso Rivas, 1B
A fourth-round pick out of Arizona in 2018, Rivas stood out high Class A Stockton in his first full season and jumped to Triple-A to finish out the year. The lefthanded-hitting Rivas earned the nickname "Mr. Steady” from his coaches for his smooth swing, patient approach and knack for line drive contact. Rivas is a disciplined hitter, takes quality at-bats and drives the ball from line-to-line. He lacks home run power—he hit nine home runs all of last year—but he makes enough contact to project for a high average with a lot of doubles. He’s a plus defender at first base and moves well enough to play a corner outfield spot as needed.
Tony Kemp, 2B/OF
Kemp spent parts of four seasons as a reserve for the Astros before they traded him to the Cubs at last year’s deadline for Martin Maldonado. The 5-foot-6 Kemp is a versatile defender who can play second base and all three outfield positions, giving the A’s another multi-dimensional, infield-outfield reserve to pair with Chad Pinder. Kemp limits his strikeouts and makes contact, but he doesn’t hit the ball very hard and is an overall .233/.314/.367 hitter in his career. He will open the year on the A’s bench and is a veteran option in case Franklin Barreto, Sheldon Neuse or another of the A’s other young second base candidates struggle.