The New York Mets had a busy Friday with two new minor league signings. Most notably, they brought in 2018 All-Star Matt Kemp.
On Friday, the New York Mets made two notable minor league signings. In the middle of the day, the agreed to a pact with pitcher Ervin Santana. A little more headline-catching, they also added Matt Kemp to the organization on a minor league deal, too.
Kemp has had a strange sometimes underappreciated career. Something many likely don’t realize is that he was an All-Star last year. Of course, this was mostly possible because Los Angeles Dodgers fans helped voted home into the starting lineup. Regardless of this flaw in the All-Star voting system, he put up solid numbers after some up-and-down seasons and a fading reputation.
Because Kemp was making over $20 million and not producing to the dollar amount on his paychecks, he was often shunned in whatever city he played. However, he has consistently hit for an average well-above anything many members of the 2019 Mets are producing while also adding in 20+ home runs.
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Having these expectations for Kemp in 2019 is a bit of a reach, though. There’s a reason the Cincinnati Reds released him after only 20 games. He barely hit in those 62 plate appearances. Now slow, a poor defender, and an impatient hitter, the Mets may have done nothing more than add this year’s version of Adrian Gonzalez or Jose Bautista. I’ll let you pick which ex-star you prefer.
Kemp isn’t with the big league club yet and depending on how the current outfielders perform, we may not see him for a little while longer. It’s important to curb our enthusiasm on him and any of the newly promoted veterans. Let’s not allow one big hit from Rajai Davis and Carlos Gomez each to convince us they will continue to do this on a nightly basis—or ever again.
Thankfully, this is a minor league deal and the Mets could decide to move on from Kemp before he even plays in a big league game. I don’t believe this is what they have in mind, though. Instead, he’ll find a way to become a left field option. With Jeff McNeil’s recent trip to the IL, there’s an abundance of opportunities for him to play regularly once ready.
Likely, some of these veterans the Mets added to the 25-man roster over the last few weeks will unceremoniously depart from our life. Kemp may end up being one of them.
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For now, I look at the Kemp deal with the excitement of possibilities ahead. All offseason long, we praised Brodie Van Wagenen for the depth he added to the organization. Well, now that a lot of it is in action in the big leagues, he’s just replenishing it with a body warmer than most available on the open market.